Legal Limbo for R.J. Lino
The investigation into the alleged corruption over the supply of cranes to Pelindo II in 2010 has been in limbo for more than five years. The KPK must immediately make clear of R.J. Lino's circumstances.
FOR five years, Richard Joost Lino has been a suspect in a case that has no clarity. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has not taken the case to trial, and neither has it halted the investigation into the former chief executive officer of Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) II.
The Lino case adds to the list of examples of poor law enforcement in this country. Lino must not become a ‘lifetime’ suspect, with all of the burdens and stigma that entails. As long as he has not been tried, Lino has no idea whether he is guilty or not. He is a victim of legal uncertainty.
The KPK named Lino a suspect in December 2015, at the end of the Taufiequrachman Ruki’s term as acting chairman following the criminalization by the police of the previous KPK leadership.
The KPK accused Lino of abusing his authority by appointing Chinese company Wuxi HuaDong Heavy Machinery to supply three quay container cranes in 2010. However, the KPK has never stated the extent of the financial losses to the state in this case, and neither has it revealed whether any bribes were paid to Lino.
During the leadership of Agus Rahardjo, the KPK asked the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) to assist in calculating the losses to the state. However, as of when Agus stepped down, the BPK had yet to finish its calculations. The KPK leadership even traveled to China to collect information, but this was not successful. The Lino case then ground to a halt.
At a standstill in the hands of investigators, the Lino case then became a political issue. President Joko Widodo and politicians in the House of Representatives used the case as a weapon when revising the law to weaken the KPK. They claimed that a strong oversight agency was needed to prevent the KPK acting arbitrarily.
All of this was nothing more than manipulative rhetoric from crooked politicians. After the KPK Law was revised, the Lino case remained in limbo, despite the BPK saying that it had finished calculating the losses to the state in 2020. It is reported that the BPK found that these losses were less than Rp1 billion. If this is true, the KPK should no longer be handling the Lino case.
Lino has twice written to the KPK oversight agency to ask for protection and legal certainty as well as an end to his status as suspect. When replying to Lino’s letter on November 13, 2020, the supervisory council only said that the investigation into the crane case was still underway at the KPK.
In the middle of this uncertainty about the case at the KPK, Lino then had to deal with the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), which was investigating the extension to the Pelindo II contract in the Jakarta International Container Terminal management. This investigation was no less strange. Initially, the AGO investigated the potential for losses to the state in the extension of this contract, but subsequently investigators moved to allegations of gratuities for Lino’s wife and children.
This protracted investigation of the case is not only causing problems for Lino on a personal level. More seriously, it is a violation of the due process of law. In a legal process that respects human rights, a suspect is not an object that can be subject to arbitrary treatment. A suspect is a subject of law that has rights that must be respected.
As a suspect, Lino must immediately be tried in an open and fair way, defend himself before the law and be paid compensation and be rehabilitated if he is proven not guilty. For the sake of legal certainty and justice, the KPK must immediately hand the Lino case over to the court. If it does not have sufficient evidence, the KPK should not hesitate to stop the investigation.