Former Democrat Bupati of Pematang Siantar Prosecuted

The former Mayor of Pematang Siantar in North Sumatra, Robert Edison Siahaan, is currently being tried in the Medan Corruption Court.  The prosecutors have demanded seven years for embezzling Rp. 10 billion ($1.1 million).  Not sure if the article means in one year or over a period of five years, but the article suggests this amounts to 70% of the local government’s annual budget!  This from detiknews (here):

The Public Prosecutor (JPU), Irene Putri, declared that Robert Edison Siahaan legally and convincingly proven to be personally involved in the corruption of money in 2007 from the Pematang Siantar budget worth Rp. 10 billion, of the total available budget of Rp. 14 billion.

In the case file 550 pages thick, Irene also presented the former Mayor’s modus operandi for corrupting the government budget between 2005 and 2010. This involved gathering all relevant SKPD officials (Local Government Work Units) and demanding that 40 percent of self-managed funds be placed into his personal account.

Dalam tuntutannya, Jaksa Penuntut Umum (JPU) Irene Putri menyatakan RE Siahaan terbukti secara sah dan meyakinkan melakukan pidana korupsi dana swakelola APBD tahun 2007 Pemerintahan Kota (Pemkot) Pematang Siantar senilai Rp 10 miliar lebih, dari total anggaran yang disediakan sebesar Rp 14 miliar.

Dalam berkas tuntutan setebal 550 lembar, Irene juga memaparkan modus Walikota Pematang Siantar periode 2005-2010 tersebut dalam melakukan korupsi. Caranya yakni dengan mengumpulkan seluruh pejabat SKPD terkait dan meminta 40 persen dana swakelola dimasukkan ke rekening pribadinya.

This is an interesting case for me because it highlights some of the difficulties of prosecuting a regional leader from the dominant ruling party. It’s significant that the prosecution is going ahead after leaving office and relinquishing his position as head of the Regional Leadership Council for the district.  I suspect, however, that KPK’s involvement was critical.  This is not mentioned in the current articles but was covered by Metro TV News last year–see here.  It’ll be interesting to see the court’s decision.

Note also that the case file runs to 550 pages! I’ve had to trawl through a couple of these files for the cases I’ve researched in Central Java.  At first I thought these must take armies to produce but more often than not it’s only a few key people who work hard and, perhaps most importantly, have support from their superiors.  For a first time investigator it would be daunting, but once you’ve done one or worked with someone who has, there’s no technical capacity reason why police and state prosecutors couldn’t produce complete investigations and produce these documents.

h/t KP2KKN’s media archive blog, here.

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