The Constitutional Court’s (MK) ethics council has handed down a sanction and issued a verbal warning to Chief Justice Arief Hidayat in relation to allegations that he lobbied lawmakers of the House of Representatives to secure a second tenure at the court.
The council concluded that Arief violated the code of ethics for attending a meeting with lawmakers from House commission III overseeing legal affairs at a hotel in Jakarta without an official invitation, court spokesman Fajar Laksono said.
The council launched investigation involving a series of questioning sessions with Arief, activists and lawmakers. However, the council found no evidence that could prove Arief’s alleged backroom deal with the lawmakers.
“There is no evidence that [Arief] conducted political lobbying of any kind related to his interests to secure reappointment,” Fajar told a press conference on Tuesday.
“The ethics council concluded that Arief committed a light violation because the invitation was only made by phone […] for MK justice, attending a meeting without an official invitation is an ethics violation,” he added.
The council’s investigation into Arief was launched following reports filed by a group of activists suggested there had been political bartering between Arief and the House over his reappointment and an ongoing judicial review on the House’s inquiry rights.
The verbal warning announced on Tuesday was the second for Arief, following a similar sanction handed down by the council in 2016.
Arief previously violated the court’s code of ethics by sending a memo to former junior attorney general for supervision Widyo Pramono. In the memo, which was written in 2015, Arief requested special treatment for his relative in Trenggalek regency, who was working as an attorney at the Trenggalek Prosecutor’s Office in East Java.