Lawyer Claims ‘Scam’ Headmaster Was Hypnotised


The lawyer of the headmaster accused of cheating 137 would-be civil servants out of millions of rupiah has claimed that his client had himself been tricked by the alleged scam mastermind, a Jakarta-based businessman.

As reported in The Bali Times last week, I Ketut Arnawa, 59, headmaster of Penatih Elementary School IV, was arrested earlier this month after allegedly taking large payments from people hoping to obtain government employment without having to sit the stringent civil service entry scams.

Arnawa is alleged to have taken up to Rp70 million (US$8,152) from each victim, promising them that jobs in education and health would be made available for him.  The case came to light when three disgruntled victims who had waited for several years without obtaining a position reported the teacher to the police.

Arnawa told police that he was working for a businessman, Bambang Subekti, who is originally from Magetan in East Java, but who is believed to be based in Jakarta.  Arnawa claimed that he believed that Subekti was a genuine civil service recruitment agent.

This week, Arnawa’s lawyers, IGN Wisnu Wardana and I Komang Darmayasa, told reporters that their client was himself a victim.

“Our client has been made a scapegoat.  Our client was only to receive a fee if the applicants successfully became civil servants,” Wardana said.

Wisnu said that according to Arnawa’s arrangement with the businessman, orgainsed during a meeting in Jakarta in 2007, applicants were to pay Rp40 million as a deposit, all of which was to be deposited in Subekti’s account.  Arnawa himself would receive the outstanding Rp40 million only if the application was successful.

Last week Arnawa was reported as having told police that he had taken a Rp7.5-million (US$874)) commission directly from the Rp40-million downpayments, but Wardana said that this was incorrect.

“All of the deposit was transferred to the account of Bambang Subekti in bank Mandiri,” he said.

Wardana also claimed that his client had never actively sought victims, but that all of the would-be civil servants had sought him out.

“My client is also shocked by what has happened.  He feels like he was hypnotised,” he said.

Wardana said that East Denpasar Police, who are investigating the case, should have brought forward some of the alleged victims as witnesses, and that they should have targeted Bambang Subekti before arresting Arnawa.

“It should have been Bambang who was arrested first so they could find out Arnawa’s exact status,” he said.

East Denpasar Police Spokesman Agus Prihadinika said that the case was being handled correctly.

“Our actions have been in accordance with the law.  The suspect was arrested because there is legal evidence against him.  We are still pursuing Bambang in Jakarta,” he said.

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