Indonesia's Constitutional Court judge arrested over alleged graft

Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has arrested a Constitutional Court judge in an alleged bribery case.
Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has arrested a Constitutional Court judge in an alleged bribery case. PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JAKARTA - Indonesia's anti-graft agency has arrested Constitutional Court judge and former Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar in an alleged bribery case.

He was among a number of individuals who were rounded up on Thursday (Jan 26) in a sting operation by the country’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), local media reported.

Constitutional Court chief justice Arief Hidayat told a press conference that one of its court justices has been arrested, without giving names. He said the court will provide “full support” to the KPK to probe the judge and investigate the matter.

The court will also propose a “dishonourable dismissal” if the judge is proven to have committed a violation, he said.

“We are shocked and heavy (hearted) over this tragedy,” he added.

Local media reported that Mr Patrialis is still being questioned at the KPK headquarters in South Jakarta. Investigators have also searched his home in Jatinegara, East Jakarta.

Mr Patrialis was appointed by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the justice and human rights minister in 2009, but was axed two years later in a Cabinet reshuffle due to his lacklustre performance.

The ministry was deemed to have under-performed during his tenure.

In August 2013, Mr Yudhoyono appointed him as a Constitutional Court justice, raising suspicion  it was politically-motivated as Mr Patrialis was a member of the National Mandate Party (PAN), chaired by Mr Yudhoyono’s in-law, Hatta Rajasa.

The Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) annulled the appointment in December the same year, following a lawsuit  by legal activists who maintained the selection process was non-transparent as it was held behind closed doors.

But the PTUN ruling was reversed by a higher court in June 2014.