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KPU chairman gets 7 years JAKARTA - General Elections Commission (KPU) chairman Nazaruddin Sjamsuddin was sentenced on Wednesday to seven years in jail for corruption in a high profile case that could eventually implicate other prominent figures, including some close to the administration. The verdict against Nazaruddin, a former leading political scientist at the prestigious University of Indonesia, came after he successfully led the poll body through the country's first ever direct presidential election last year, which saw President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's rise to power on antigraft promises.

Antigraft court judges presided over by Kresna Menon found Nazaruddin guilty of receiving part of a total of Rp 5.3 billion (US$530,000) in kickbacks from insurance company PT Bumi Putra Muda, which won a Rp 14.9 billion contract from the KPU to provide insurance during the holding of the landmark poll. "The court finds that the defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt of corruption and hereby sentence him to seven years' imprisonment," said Kresna. The sentence was 1.5 years less than prosecutors had sought.

Nazaruddin was also fined Rp 300 million and ordered to return the money received in kickbacks, or serve an extra six months in prison. He has decided to appeal. Nazaruddin is the fourth defendant to be jailed following a series of trials involving KPU members and staffers on graft charges. The KPU scandal has been seen as a test case of Susilo's commitment to rooting out rampant corruption in the country.

KPU member Mulyana W. Kusumah was sentenced to two-and a-half-years' imprisonment for attempting to bribe a state auditor to cover up corruption at the commission. Meanwhile, KPU deputy secretary-general M. Dentjik and treasurer Hamdani Amin received three years and four years respectively for receiving the kickbacks from the insurance firm. Another KPU member is still on trial.

Criminal Law expert J. Sahetapy and Teten Masduki, the coordinator of Indonesian Corruption Watch, hailed the court's verdict as progress in the government's campaign to eradicate corruption, which has evolved into a major obstacle hampering badly needed investment.

But the two urged the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to also bring other serving and former KPU members, including Minister of Justice and Human Rights Hamid Awaluddin and Anas Urbaningrum, now a member of Susilo's Democratic Party, to justice, especially in the light of testimony from Amin that all 10 KPU members and dozens of staffers have received kickbacks from various private firms that won contracts from the commission.

"It would be unfair if the other KPU members, including Hamid Awaluddin, are not brought to justice because, according to Amin's testimony, they also enjoyed the kickbacks," said Teten. He also suggested that the KPK further investigate the other graft allegations involving the KPU to further boost the antigraft campaign.

The graft scandal in the KPU was revealed after Mulyana was caught red-handed in April at a Jakarta hotel trying to bribe Khairiansyah Salman, an auditor from the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), to overlook irregularities in the commission's finances. Khairiansyah, who was wired at the time, played a crucial role as a whistleblower in helping the KPK reveal the case.

For this, he was given the prestigious Integrity Award from Berlin-based Transparency International in a move that it was hoped would encourage other would-be whistleblowers to blow the lid on graft cases. However, he was later named a suspect by the Jakarta Prosecutors Office for receiving a bribe from the Ministry of Religious Affairs to overlook irregularities in the management of haj pilgrimage funds.



Posted in Human rights @ 15 December 2005 07:19 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





Jeroen
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Does the fact that he gets 7 years in prison mean anything concerning the fact that Yudhoyono has started in cleaning his top-levels from corruption a little bit?



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