Council head quizzed on Indonesian election dispute case

Former judge Akil Mochtar (C) arrives for his trial at a court room in Jakarta on June 16, 2014.

JAKARTA - The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has questioned Palembang City Council (DPRD) chairman Ahmad Novan in connection with the case of alleged bribery surrounding the Palembang mayoral election dispute.

Priharsa Nugraha, the KPK's news and information division head, said that Ahmad was summoned as a witness in the graft case implicating Palembang mayor Romi Herton, and his wife Masitoh, a civil servant working in the South Sumatran city.

"[Ahmad] is being quizzed in connection to suspects RH [Romi Herton] and M [Masitoh]," Priharsa said on Friday, as quoted by Antara news agency.

The couple was arrested and detained separately on Wednesday after being questioned.

The link between Ahmad, who is a member of the Palembang DPRD's Democratic Party faction, and Romi Herton, an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician, remains elusive.

Romi and Masitoh have been charged with allegedly bribing former Constitutional Court Chief Justice Akil Mochtar in order to settle an election dispute benefiting Romi's bid for the position of Palembang mayor.

If found guilty, Romi and Masitoh could each be sentenced to a maximum prison sentence of 15 years and a maximum fine of Rp 750 million (S$80,000).

Additionally, the couple has been charged with allegedly providing false testimony during a trial at the Constitutional Court, as stipulated in Article 22 and Article 35, Paragraph 1 of Law No. 20/2001 on corruption offences.

Both suspects could be slapped with a maximum of 12 years' imprisonment and fines of Rp 600 million.

According to Akil's indictment document, he received Rp 19.87 billion from Romi through Muhtar Ependy in order to settle the 2013 Palembang mayoral election dispute in favour of the Romi and Harjono Joyo candidate pair.