Tue, 15 Jan 2002

Tommy's man hired me: Defendant

Muninggar Sri Saraswati and Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A defendant accused in the drive-by shooting of Supreme Court Justice M. Syafiuddin Kartasasmita in July, confessed that he was hired by an aide of Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra to carry out the assassination.

However, the defendant, R. Maulawarman, 37, also known under the alias Molla, denied that he had ever meet Tommy.

"I did not know Tommy personally, but his man, Frans, a resident of Pinang Cipondoh area, Tangerang, contacted me," he said during a hearing at the Central Jakarta District Court, presided over by Judge Amiruddin Zakaria.

His admission of guilt surprised many in the audience. Even his lawyer, Suhardi Somomoeljono, appeared shocked, and said that Molla had never told attorneys about his planned admission of guilt before the court.

"He asked me this morning (Monday) to tell the panel of judges that he wanted to present his own defense," he told The Jakarta Post, adding that Molla wrote his defense on a piece of paper.

The hearing was originally intended to allow the defense from lawyers of Molla and another defendant to testify, Noval Hadad.

Both defendants face charges of premeditated murder which, as stipulated in article 340 of the Criminal Code, carries the death penalty.

"At that time, me, Noval, Alex and Mukti drove on two Yamaha RX King motorbikes. Why did not the police arrest them?" Molla asked in reference to the shooting incident.

Molla did not elaborate on the guilt of Alex and Mukti, but he did admit that two of four men fatally shot the justice.

He also denied that he had taught Noval on how to use a gun as stated in the indictment.

According to the indictment, Noval, who was sitting behind Molla on a black Yamaha RX King, shot Syafiuddin with a black, 9-millimeter Beretta several times on July 26 last year.

A police spokesman, Sr.Comr. Anton Bachrul Alam maintained that the assassination was carried out by four men on two motorcycles. But eyewitnesses said that it was only two men who opened fire.

Syafiuddin was shot on July 26, 2001 while driving his car to work. He had sentenced Tommy in October 2000 to 18 months in jail for corruption.

Meanwhile, the police expected on Monday to complete within days the dossiers on Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra over his alleged masterminding of the murder of Supreme Court Justice M. Syafiuddin Kartasasmita after they were returned by the Jakarta Prosecutors' Office.

City police spokesman Sr. Comr. Anton Bachrul Alam said on Monday that the police had actually filed the dossiers with the Prosecutor's Office, which then returned them as the prosecutors considered them incomplete.

"We had to insert some additional data into the dossiers which was needed by the court in trying the murder case," said Anton. He declined to elaborate.

According to Tommy's lawyer Elza Syarief and chief of detectives for financial affairs Adj. Sr. Comr. Benny Mokalo, Tommy was not interrogated over the murder case, but over the extortion that allegedly involved Raden Dody Sumadi, who is known as former president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid's ally and Muhammad Sidiq Muin, popularly known as Gus Dur's spiritual adviser.

Observers warned earlier that the cases highlighted by Tommy's lawyers might be intended to distract public attention from Tommy's main cases as the former drag big names into the legal arena.

Abdurrahman and his wife Sinta Nuriyah were summoned by police as witnesses in the extortion case last week.

Anton said the police might find that the extortion case turned into one of bribery committed by Tommy should the results of the investigation lead in that direction.