Indonesian politicians sentenced in bribery case

by Thin Lei Win | @thinink | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 20 June 2011 17:19 GMT
Suspect still missing in bribery case over Bank Indonesia election

BANGKOK (TrustLaw) – Jakarta corruption court on Monday sentenced two politicians to 15 months in jail after they were found guilty of receiving bribes in the election of a senior central bank official, the Jakarta Globe reported.

The two are former lawmakers from United Development Party (PPP).

The sentencing for the high-profile case began last Thursday, when four politicians from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) received between 15 to 20 months in prison for the same case, the Jakarta Post reported.

On Friday, 10 more former lawmakers, all from the Golkar Party of former strongman Suharto, each received 16-month jail sentences, according to the Jakarta Globe.

The 16, along with 10 additional politicians from other parties, are charged with receiving bribes in connection with the election of Miranda Goeltom as the Bank Indonesia senior deputy governor in 2004.

The politicians, who were serving on the parliamentary financial commission that selects senior central bank officials, allegedly received travellers' cheques worth between 150 million rupiah ($16,610) and 1.45 billion rupiah ($160,600) in exchange for nominating Goeltom.

While the sentences were lower than what the prosecutor sought, Agus Condro, who blew the whistle on the corruption and received 15 months in jail, said his sentencing could scare off potential whistleblowers.

"They might get scared and wonder why [they] should report [their] case and be a whistle-blower if [they] don't get any protection from the state and still get imprisoned in the end?” the Post reported Condro as saying.

SUSPECT MISSING

Local newspapers say questions still hang over the case, such as why the authorities have focused only on those who took the bribes but not on Goeltom, and the source of the money.

Businesswoman Nunun Nurbaeti, a key suspect in the case and wife of the former deputy chief of the National Police and now legislator Adang Daradjatun, is nowhere to be found.

Nurbaeti is alleged to have distributed the bribes and is wanted for questioning by Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

According to the Globe, her family says she is in Singapore being treated for a mystery illness that is causing her to lose her memory. The KPK previously said it had reason to believe Nurbaeti had travelled to Cambodia from Thailand, the Globe reported.

Indonesian police this month called on Interpol for assistance in bringing her back, the Jakarta Post reported. Local papers say the international agency has since sent out a red notice for her arrest to its 188 member countries, which include Thailand and Cambodia.

 (Editing by Rebekah Curtis)