Saturday, April 21, 2012

Indonesia jails former ruling party treasurer for graft

JAKARTA - An Indonesian anti-corruption court sentenced the ruling Democratic Party's former treasurer Friday to almost five years' jail in a case that has caused embarrassment for the president's party.

Muhammad Nazaruddin was convicted of taking 4.6 billion rupiah (US$501,400) to award the company Duta Graha Indah a contract to build an athletes' village for the regional Southeast Asian Games last year.

"The defendant was convincingly proven guilty of committing criminal activities under the corruption law," judge Darmawati Ningsih told the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court.

"The court sentences him to four years and 10 months in prison, and fines him 200 million rupiah (US$21,800), which can be substituted with another four months prison."

The judge said Nazaruddin had "tainted the image of the government, which is trying to combat corruption".

The former politician told the court he would think about whether to appeal.

Prosecutors had sought a seven-year sentence for the former treasurer, who fled the country in May last year when investigators linked him to the rigged tender and was extradited from Colombia with the help of Interpol in August.

Nazaruddin could cause political turmoil for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party, claiming since the trial began in late November that several party members are involved in scandals worth millions.

He has named party chairman Anas Urbaningrum and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, both of whom have expressed presidential aspirations for 2014.

The case is an embarrassment for the president, who has won two elections on a fervent-corruption fighting platform and is accused of softening on graft since winning his second term.

A Gallup poll released in October found 91 percent of Indonesians believe government corruption is widespread, compared to 84 percent in 2006.

Transparency International ranks Indonesia the 100th least-corrupt country of 183 nations.

Indonesia's Anti-Corruption Court has put some of the country's most senior corrupt officials behind bars and has close to a 100 percent conviction rate.

The Corruption Eradication Commission, which investigates and prosecutes graft cases, reported more than 20,000 complaints from the public last year.

View the original article here

Source Form Channel News Asia

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