Tue, 10 Oct 2000

Court frees one defendant in fake money case

JAKARTA (JP): The Central Jakarta District Court acquitted on Monday Yustinus Kasminto, 55, a defendant in the production of Rp 19.2 billion (US$2.2 million) fake money of all charges, but sentenced a fellow Yunie, 27, to 2.5 years in jail for her role in the case.

Judge Rasaldi Salmun of the district court said prosecutor Soejitno had "totally failed" to present a single witness or hard evidence linking defendant Kasminto to the crime of producing fake money.

"Defendant Kasminto's only link to this case was that he was duped by defendant Ismail Putra and defendant Yunie into renting out his printer and printing company to the group of defendants involved in this case," Rasaldi told the hearing.

"Nobody has ever seen Kasminto printing the fake money, nor has he been linked to the crime in any way."

Primary defendant Ismail was sentenced to seven years in jail in a separate hearing last month, while his accomplice Eddy Kereh received a 4-year jail term.

Soejitno had charged Kasminto of violating Article 244 of the Criminal Code on fake money production, which carries a maximum punishment of a 15-year jail term, and Article 55 of the Criminal Code, for working as an accomplice in the crime.

Soejitno had demanded the court sentence the defendant to a 4.5-year jail term in an initial hearing, but as the judge stated, he had failed to produce any evidence on Kasminto's alleged criminal role.

After Rasaldi ordered the court to immediately release Kasminto from detention and give the printer used in the crime, back to Kasminto, the prosecutor told reporters he would appeal on Kasminto's verdict within 14 days to the Supreme Court.

Kasminto, like the other nine defendants in the case, was arrested by police in February for his alleged involvement in the fake money production. Kasminto's printing company, Jaya Abadi Prima, on Jl. Palmerah Barat No. 141, printed wedding cards and several kinds of invitation cards.

Kasminto's link to the case, judge Rasaldi said, was a written contract renting out the printer to defendant Ismail Putra, for Rp 150 million a month.

His printing company and printer was used by the defendants for two months, but defendants said at initial hearings Kasminto had neither received payment for it, nor was he allowed to enter the premises, unless the printer broke down.

"Since his only link to the case is a contract, that's a civil matter, not criminal," Rasaldi said.

Meanwhile, Rasaldi said that Yunie's role in the crime was that she had prior knowledge of the fact that the defendants were entering into the business of fake money production.

"She knew this, but joined anyway for a monthly salary of Rp 5 million and a commission from the output of the fake money production, both of which she never received," Rasaldi said.

"Because she is young, and can change, the panel of judges sentences her to a 2.5-year jail term."

The jail term was lighter than the 4.5-year jail term demanded by Soejitno, who said that he would consider bringing up the case to the Jakarta High Court. Similarly, Yunie said that she would appeal to the Jakarta High Court.

The case has drawn public attention especially after Ismail, a former member of the Army's Combat Intelligence Unit, testified in initial sessions that Army Chief of Staff Gen. Tyasno Sudarto, had sponsored the fake money syndicate last year, when he was still chief of the Military Intelligence Body (BIA).

Gen. Tyasno was himself replaced on Monday by his deputy, Lt. Gen. Endriartono Sutarto, a move Tyasno claimed was a routine rotation within the Army.

In spite of the allegations, judge Soejitno had refused to call Tyasno to the stand, saying he did not have enough evidence linking Tyasno to the case. The general has publicly denied the allegation, which he has described as a lie and slander.

A source close to prosecutor Soejitno told The Jakarta Post on Monday that Soejitno had believed Ismail's testimonies in court.

"Soejitno believed it. Ismail had openly narrated the story, word for word, without fear or shame... and there was consistency in his story, unlike the stories of the other defendants," the source said.

He stopped short of explaining why Soejitno never called Tyasno to the stand as a witness.

"Don't ask me... it's not even an option for prosecutors." (ylt)