Democratic Party lawmaker Angelina Sondakh stood trial on Thursday more than seven months after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) named her a suspect in graft cases over budget allocations in two ministries.
Prosecutors indicted the former beauty queen for bribery as stipulated in Articles 12 and 18 of Corruption Law No. 31/1999 and Article 64 of the Criminal Code.
Angelina, more popularly known as Angie, faces a maximum penalty of a 20-year jail sentence.
Prosecutor Agus Salim stated that Angie allegedly took a total of Rp 34.90 billion (US$3.6 million) in kickbacks, comprising Rp 12.58 billion and $2.35 million, from Permai Group, a holding company belonging to former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin, who has already been convicted of graft.
The company reportedly paid the bribe in exchange for projects run by the Youth and Sports Ministry (the construction of athletes’ village for last year’s SEA Games in Palembang, South Sumatra) and the Education and Culture Ministry (projects in 16 state universities).
Agus explained that Angie, who was a coordinator of the budgetary committee at House of Representatives Commission X — overseeing education, culture and sports — arranged the budget in accordance with the company’s plan.
Then, it is suggested that Angie communicated with Permai marketing director Mindo “Rosa” Rosalina Manullang to set her “fee”.
Allegedly, Angie asked for 7 percent of the total budget allocation but Nazaruddin rejected her plea, offering her 5 percent through Rosa. Angie is claimed to have accepted the offer and asked Permai to pay 50 percent during budget allocation discussions and the remainder after the allocation was approved.
“I accept the 5 percent fee because you represent my fellows in the Democratic Party,” a prosecutor said, reconstructing Angie’s conversation with Rosa.
A transaction of Rp 33.37 billion cash was allegedly made in 11 separate payments from March to November 2010 with most of the transactions via the assistant of another budgetary committee member I Wayan Koster.
“Staff from the company met the assistants of Angie and Wayan to arrange or receive the money in cash in several places, including Wayan’s office at the House of Representatives building,” said one of prosecutors.
Prosecutors said that Rosa also sent money for Wayan’s fee of Rp 5 billion.
According to a prosecutor, Angie and Rosa allegedly used terms like Washington and Malang apples in reference to US dollar and rupiah banknotes, in their conversations through phone or BlackBerry messengers (BBM) services.
During her testimony at Rosa’s trial, Angie repeatedly denied that she had owned a BlackBerry before 2011.
After attending the trial session, Angie rejected the indictments and will deliver her plea next week. “The indictments letter is invalid with typos and substantive errors,” Angie’s lawyer Tengku Nasrullah said.
Tengku explained that the indictments were neither clear nor detailed in terms of where, when and how the crime had occurred.
“When we heard the indictments, we could not differentiate which money was for the Youth and Sports Ministry project and which one was for the Education and Culture Ministry project,” he said after the trial session.
Tengku added that prosecutors had failed to explain how Angie made the fraudulent transactions and doubted that a BlackBerry messenger conversation record was valid evidence.