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Indonesia’s ex-speaker gets 15-year jail term for graft

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Former Indonesian parliament speaker Setya Novanto has been sentenced to a 15-year jail term on corruption charges.

In a court ruling issued on Tuesday, Novanto was also fined $36,000.

The ruling marked a major victory for an ongoing crackdown in the populous country on alleged widespread corruption among politicians and law enforcement officials.

Novanto — once among the country’s most influential politicians — was also barred from holding public office for five years following his release from prison. Additionally, he has to repay the $7.3 million he stands accused of embezzling.

Novanto, who had succeeded in the past to sidestep corruption charges, was accused of having a major role in stealing from the $440-million ID card project, with some $170 million disappearing from state funds.

In a court hearing that ran for over three hours, judges read out dozens of case notes, including descriptions of where the former chief legislator held meetings to distribute the cash made from a mark-up on a contract for government identity cards.

Prosecutors had originally demanded a 16-year sentence for Navanto, in addition to nearly $7.4 million in fines and the seizure of his substantial assets if he failed to pay the fines.

His lengthy trial came after a string of schemes to dodge serious charges — including allegedly faking an injury in a car crash.

He was eventually arrested at a hospital in November last year.

Meanwhile, several other politicians, government officials, and businessmen have also been charged in the scandal.

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