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Justice Gazalba Saleh accused of money laundering in second graft trial

Jakarta Globe - May 6, 2024

Muhammad Aulia, Jakarta – Supreme Court Justice Gazalba Saleh faced allegations of bribery and money laundering during the opening of his second corruption trial on Monday, following his acquittal of corruption charges last August.

Prosecutors accused Gazalba of accepting at least Rp 650 million (approximately $40,500) while adjudicating an appeal case at the Supreme Court, allegedly in exchange for overturning a guilty verdict.

"The defendant is charged with accepting bribes totaling Rp 650 million from Jawahirlul Fuad, who appealed his verdict at the Supreme Court," the prosecutor stated at the Central Jakarta District Court.

Jawahirlul was sentenced to one year in prison in April 2021 by a district court in Jombang regency, East Java, for unauthorized toxic and hazardous waste management involving his metal company, Logam Jaya. Upon appealing to the Supreme Court, Jawahirlul allegedly engaged with Gazalba through a middleman identified as Ahmad Riyad.

"On September 6, 2022, the Supreme Court panel in Central Jakarta accepted Jawahirul Fuad's appeal and acquitted the defendant of all charges," prosecutors asserted.

Subsequently, the middleman allegedly delivered the funds to Gazalba in Singaporean dollars and rupiah in several installments, totaling Rp 650 million.

The Supreme Court panel also included Justice Desnayeti and Justice Yohanes Priyatna, both of whom are not implicated by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

In addition to the bribery charges, prosecutors accused Gazalba of concealing the funds from defendants seeking favorable rulings by converting them into other assets for personal gain.

According to the indictment, Gazalba utilized the funds to purchase a Toyota Alphard, acquire properties in Bogor and Bekasi, settle home installments in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta totaling Rp 2.95 billion, and convert foreign currencies into rupiah.

"He has allegedly attempted to conceal the illicit origins of his assets," prosecutors claimed.

Appointed as a Supreme Court judge in 2017, Gazalba has presided over numerous high-profile corruption cases.

He was initially arrested by the KPK in December 2022 for allegedly accepting bribes in connection with a bankruptcy lawsuit against a small lender in Central Java. His arrest followed that of fellow Supreme Court Justice Sudrajad Dimyati, also implicated in the same case.

However, a district court in Bandung acquitted Gazalba of all charges on August 1, 2023, prompting the KPK to appeal the decision. On October 19, the Supreme Court upheld the acquittal.

In November of the same year, Gazalba was rearrested by the KPK on fresh corruption charges.

KPK's Investigation Director Asep Guntur alleged that Gazalba had accepted bribes in exchange for favorable rulings for graft convicts appealing to the Supreme Court. One such convict is former maritime affairs minister Edhy Prabowo, whose prison sentence was reduced from nine years to five following his appeal trial at the Supreme Court.

During the former minister's appeal, the Supreme Court panel, chaired by Justice Sofyan Sitompul, included Gazalba and Justice Sinintha Yuliansih Sibarani.

Edhy, incarcerated since November 2020, was granted parole on August 18.

"In our preliminary investigation, we have uncovered evidence indicating transfers totaling around Rp 15 billion to the suspect [Gazalba] between 2018 and 2022," Asep said at that time.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/justice-gazalba-saleh-accused-of-money-laundering-in-second-graft-tria