Where does the buck stop in the Billy Sindoro affair?

Ah Finally! Some indication of, if not where the buck stops where it is likely to stop, in the Billy Sindoro case. Billy has been accused by Anti Corruption Commission of bribing KPPU member Mohamed Iqbal to fix one of the KPPU’s decisions so that Astro would have to continue supplying programs to Lioop-owned PT Direct Vision.

All this time, Billy’s lawyers and PR Person have labored on giving the impression that Billy was a rogue element in the Lippo Group. It is a stretch but they would have the Corruption Court hearing Billy’s case that Billy took out Rp500 million of his own money to influence the KPPU decision favoring an organization that he no longer belongs to.

Yesteray’s testimony by PT Direct Vision’s Chief Executive Nelia Concapcion Molato, if true, dismantles this unlikely construction.

Ms Molato’s statement before the court, as quoted in Kompas today, states that Billy is the representative of the shareholders of PT Direct Vision, the Lippo Group, even though he has no official position in the group.

If it is true then it is, journalistically, an explosive story for it would mean that Billy was acting on behalf of an/or taking instruction from someone higher up in the Group.

Who could be higher than Billy? Who would Billy take instructions from? In the words of th Watergate scandal journalists, who (in the group) knew what and when where it came to Billy’s alleged bribery of Iqbal?

If there is any journalist out there worth their salt they should get the Lippo Group to state on the record what their relationship was with Billy Sindoro, following Ms Mulato’s statement in court and if they would go on record denying that Billy acted on their behalf over the KPPU scandal. yet nobody’s done this. A tatement on the state of journalism in Indonesia?

In the meantime, Unspun‘s noticed that some newspapers have begun to swallow the Sindoro camp’s spin on the KPK’s accusation that he bribed Iqbal. Some papers like Investor Daily, Suara Pembaruan, The Jakarta Globe (all Lippo owned) and Harian Ekonomi Neraca (not Lippo-owned) have begun to use the word “gratification” instead of “bribery.”

Gratification is the term introduced by Billy’s defense team. Their argument is that if Billy only gratified Iqbal, with gratification being the act of rewarding an official in gratitude for doing something that benefits them – and therefore not influencing the official’s decision – then Billy is not guilty of bribing Iqbal. It’s twisted logic but one that they are advancing – so why are the journalists falling for it?

Below is Kompas’s story today:

Billy Sindoro Wakil Pemegang Saham dari Lippo

Selasa, 13 Januari 2009 | 03:00 WIB

Jakarta, Kompas – Pengusaha Billy Sindoro memang tidak mempunyai jabatan struktural di PT Direct Vision, tetapi ia mewakili pemegang saham PT Direct Vision, yaitu PT Lippo. Oleh karena itu, Chief Executive Officer PT Direct Vision Nelia Concapcion Molato berkoordinasi dengan Billy terutama menyangkut laporan keuangan.

Hal itu disampaikan Nelia saat menjadi saksi dalam sidang, Senin (12/1) di Pengadilan Khusus Tindak Pidana Korupsi, Jakarta. Sidang yang dipimpin Ketua Majelis Hakim Moefri itu memeriksa tiga saksi, yaitu Nelia, Benedict Sulaeman, dan Haryanti.

Menurut Nelia, ia selalu melapor kepada Billy. Hingga tahun 2006, pemegang saham Direct Vision adalah Grup Lippo dan Astro Malaysia. Tahun 2006, saham dipegang PT Ayunda dan Silver Concord. ”Pemegang saham Ayunda Prima dan Silver Concord selalu diwakili Lippo,” ujar dia lagi.

Billy diadili, didakwa memberikan uang Rp 500 juta kepada anggota Komisi Pengawas Persaingan Usaha, Mohammad Iqbal. Pemberian itu terkait dengan Iqbal selaku anggota majelis KPPU dalam perkara hak siar Barclays Premier League (Liga Utama Inggris) agar keputusan KPPU membantu kepentingan Direct Vision.

Nelia menjelaskan, ia beberapa kali bertemu dengan Billy di Hotel Aryaduta, tempat Billy dan Iqbal ditangkap Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi pada tahun 2005, 2007, dan 2008. Dalam sebuah pertemuan, Billy pernah menanyakan soal perkara Direct Vision yang ditangani KPPU.

Read the rest of the story here.

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