Indonesian politician given 16-year term for graft

AP News
Posted: Dec 09, 2013 11:58 AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's corruption court sentenced a former top leader of an Islamic-based political party on Monday to 16 years in jail for corruption and money laundering.

Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, leader of the Prosperous Justice Party, was found guilty of accepting 1.3 billion rupiah ($108,700) in bribes to secure a government contract for PT. Indoguna Utama, a meat importer.

The money was allegedly part of a total of 40 billion rupiah ($3.34 million) pledged by the company to Ishaaq for influencing the Ministry of Agriculture, the court ruled.

Ishaaq rejected the verdict and said he would appeal.

Ishaaq, then president of the party, was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission in January following the detention of his aide and two executives of the company.

Presiding Judge Gusrizal Lubis said Ishaaq was guilty of violating the anti-corruption law, the money laundering law and the criminal code. He ordered Ishaaq to pay a fine of 1 billion rupiah ($84,110) or serve another year in jail.

The Prosperous Justice Party, better known as PKS, is Indonesia's largest Muslim-based party and is part of the coalition government. Agriculture Minister Suswono is a member of the party.

The same court earlier sentenced Ishaaq's aide to 14 years in jail and the two company executives to 21 months. The company's director is still awaiting trial.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, is plagued by graft. According to advocacy group Transparency International's corruption index, it ranked 118th out of 176 countries polled.