Doctors to see if Speaker fit for questioning

Mr Fredrich Yunadi, lawyer for Indonesia's Speaker of Parliament Setya Novanto, showing a photo of Novanto in hospital after a car accident in Jakarta. He said his client had been on his way to turn himself in for questioning when the car he was in c
Mr Fredrich Yunadi, lawyer for Indonesia's Speaker of Parliament Setya Novanto, showing a photo of Novanto in hospital after a car accident in Jakarta. He said his client had been on his way to turn himself in for questioning when the car he was in crashed.PHOTO: REUTERS

He was hurt in crash on way to anti-graft agency: Lawyer

Indonesia's Speaker of Parliament Setya Novanto will undergo medical scans to determine if he is fit to be interrogated, said anti-corruption agency KPK yesterday.

The Golkar party chairman was admitted into a private hospital on Thursday after the car he was in crashed into a tree and an electricity pole in south Jakarta.

He was moved to state hospital RSCM yesterday and is being guarded by armed policemen.

Novanto's lawyer, Mr Fredrich Yunadi, said on Thursday that his client had been on his way to KPK's offices to be interrogated.

The anti-graft agency had failed to locate and detain Novanto when it raided his home on Wednesday.

Shortly before the accident, KPK had asked the national police chief and Interpol to place Novanto on a wanted list, KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah told Inews TV.

Novanto, 62, is being sought for questioning over a major scandal unearthed in 2014 involving US$170 million (S$230 million) of stolen state funds.

Investigators allege that he was among dozens of politicians who received kickbacks from funds earmarked for a 2009 government project to issue new identification cards, called e-KTP, to citizens aged 17 and above.

There has been speculation that the crash, in which Novanto suffered head injuries, was arranged as an excuse so he could avoid interrogations. Novanto had previously eluded several summons from the KPK, citing a heart ailment.

Jakarta police revealed today that the black Toyota Fortuner SUV involved in the accident was driven by MetroTV journalist Hilman Mattauch, who now faces charges of reckless driving as he was using a mobile phone while driving. Novanto sat behind the driver in the middle row of seats, while the third passenger, an aide to Novanto, sat in front.

During questioning by police, Hilman said he wasn't fully focused on the road as he was chatting with Novanto and had to pick up a call from the TV studio. The car swerved to the right, and mounted the pavement before hitting a tree and a pole.

Police said in a statement yesterday that Novanto was on his way to the MetroTV studio for a live interview when he changed his mind and decided to do a phone interview instead. Mr Fredrich said Novanto planned to head to KPK's offices after his visit to MetroTV.

Netizens on social media reacted to the accident with humour and scepticism, creating a hashtag #SaveTiangListrik (save the electricity pole).

Purported photos of the accident in Indonesian media showed only minor damage to the front of the car and the pole. Mr Deddy Rinaldo tweeted: "Judging by the impact on the car and the severity of Novanto's condition, we conclude Novanto must have been sitting on the hood of the car."

Another netizen Ms Dewi Salamah wrote: "Novanto had a concussion after ramming into an electricity pole at 20kmh. What kind of car was he using?"

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