Dian Kuswandini, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Attorney General's Office (AGO) said Friday all legal documents issued under an online administration system of the Justice and Human Rights Ministry were unlawful because they were signed by a private company.
Assistant attorney general for special crimes Marwan Effendy said his office would recommend the government issue new documents to replace the illegal ones.
He said the discovery was made after a series of investigations into a corruption case centered around the service website, www.sisminbakum.com
, run by the ministry's directorate general of public law administration."We found out that legal documents issued via the system, such as permits for the establishment of companies and notarial certificates, were signed by PT SRD (Sarana Rekatama Dinamika) president director Yohannes Woworuntu," he said
SRD is the ministry's business partner responsible for the operation of the website and received 90 percent of the revenue from the system. SRD received around Rp 9 billion per month from the website service.
According to Marwan, as a legal authority, a notary is engaged with the government in doing its job thus a certificate legalized by a notary must be approved by the government.
"But in this case, certificates were all signed by a private entity while the law required them to be legalized by the government -- in this case the justice ministry," he added.
He said the AGO would study the legal ramifications behind the finding and make a set of recommendations to the government.
Marwan said this incident could pose a blow to the state, as thousands of legal entities were registered through the system.
The AGO said the system had attracted around 200 applicants every month since 2001, issuing a total of more than 25 thousand certificates up to 2008.
"Should this be true, we will recommend the government 'bleach out' the certificates, meaning it should issue new documents to replace the unlawful ones."
AGO spokesman Jasman Pandjaitan said his office detained Yohannes Woworuntu on Friday as a suspect in the corruption case to ensure a smooth investigation.
In response, Yohannes told reporters he was being used as a "scapegoat" in the case.
"I have been blamed for something I had nothing to do with. I joined SRD on Sept. 2, 2000 while the contract (between the company and the ministry) was signed on June 30, 2000," he said after his Friday questioning.
Yohannes denied knowing that the money generated from the system was distributed to several justice ministry officials.
The AGO had earlier arrested former directors general Romli Atmasasmita and Zulkarnain Yunus and incumbent director general Syamsuddin Manan Sinaga on similar charges.
These officials stand accused of distributing embezzled funds from the system both to SRD and several ministry officials.The case also implicated former justice minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra.
He has faced questioning twice to clarify his decision to sign two ministerial decrees in 2000 that directly appointed SRD to build the website and another about the activation of the system.
Marwan, however, declined to say whether Yusril would be named a fresh suspect. "Without any doubt, all who benefited from this (system) will be held responsible."