On February 14, the former chief of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Antasari Azhar filed a report with the police regarding his previous conviction as a murderer. Azhar told police that he was framed by none other than Indonesia’s former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). He asked for Yudhoyono to “be honest about his criminalization”.
“This is the ending of my long journey for the past eight years of my sentence,” he told the press.
Some suspect the report was made to influence the result of the now-happening governor election in Jakarta, in which the ex-president’s son Agus Yudhoyono is running.
The name Antasari Azhar became well-known when he ordered the detainment of Aulia Pohan, the Deputy Governor of Bank Indonesia, who is also SBY’s in-law. Pohan was involved in the allocation of a Rp.100 billion (US$7.5 million) slush fund for the People’s Representative Council back in 2009. Pohan was sentenced 4.5 years in jail.
Shortly after, Azhar, who was chief of the KPK at that time, was convicted and arrested for the murder of Nasrudin Zulkarnaen. He was sentenced to 18 years in the jail.
After serving seven and a half years, Azhar was released on parole in November of 2016. Three weeks ago, on January 25, incumbent President Joko Widodo granted him a pardon from the rest of the parole sentence.
One of the main highlights of Azhar’s report was an event that took place in March of 2009. Azhar revealed the President Director of MNC Group and Chairman of the Perindo Party (Partai Persatuan Indonesia) Hary Tanoesoedibjo paid Azhar a visit to persuade him not to detain Aulia Pohan.
Allegedly, his visit was ordered by then-President SBY. Azhar claimed that his refusal resulted in his own murder conviction. Azhar told reporters that Tanoesoedibjo warned him to be careful when he denied the request.
Upon hearing the claim, SBY suspected this was Azhar’s attempt to influence the popular vote so his son would lose the gubernatorial election. From his tweets, he pointed out that the report was made one day before the voting for the race took place, and the ‘vile’ accusation was planned to tarnish his family’s reputation.
He also suspected that Azhar’s action was blessed by a much powerful higher-up, and that his parole pardon was the results of a political motive. The chairman of the Democratic Party confirmed that he will be taking legal action against Azhar’s claim. On February 15, Azhar was officially reported to the police via Deputy General Secretary of the Democratic Party, with supposed evidence of his false claims on news sites.
Tanoesoedibjo also denied the claim and accused Azhar of slandering his name. He told journalists that the supposed defamation, however intolerable, was ultimately not worth his time. He handed over all legal action to SBY. In turn, Tanoesoedibjo said he would instead focus his energy on work. MNC’s stock price has been dropping since the incident was first reported.
Pohan, now retired, refused to give statements. “I have retired, why are you asking me? Go ask Mr. SBY. [His answer] already represents mine”, said Pohan as quoted by Detik when he was voting for his son-in-law.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla weighed in on the matter, claiming that there is no correlation between the dispute and the election.
“I don’t see any relationship between the election and what is happening between Mr. Antasari and Mr. Susilo. We will wait and see how the police handle this matter,” explained Kalla.