Ex-Minister ‘Should Be Jailed’ for Corruption

JAKARTA ~ A former minister should be jailed for six years for allegedly obtaining more than US$1 million through corruption during his tenure, prosecutors said this week.

Former fishery and marine affairs minister Rokhmin Dahuri had collected some Rp11.35 billion ($1.25 million) from officials in his ministries, prosecutor Tumpak Simanjuntak said on Wednesday.

He had also received cash gifts worth some $265,000, the prosecutor told an anti-corruption court in Jakarta.

Amien Rais, a failed presidential candidate and former parliamentary speaker, has claimed that the money was funneled by Dahuri to candidates in the 2004 presidential election, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The president has strenuously denied the claims. Rais has admitted to receiving $22,000 of the money.

Simanjuntak recommended a six-year jail term for Dahuri, less time served, and a fine of $21,900 or an extra four months in jail.

Dahuri allegedly told senior members of his ministry that he was raising funds and demanded that all top officials contribute from their budgets.

The defendant also accepted cash and a car, Simanjuntak said, adding that the presents came from companies linked to his ministry, a bank and several individuals, including the then director-general for fisheries.

The prosecutor said the fact that several corrupt transactions occurred merited an extra year of jail over the five years specified in the relevant anti-corruption law.

Supporters of the former minister, mostly fishermen and their families, greeted the recommendation angrily, accusing the prosecutor of being “sadistic,” while some of the women burst into tears.

Judge Mansyurdin Chaniago, who led the panel of judges, said the court would resume on July 4 to hear the defense plea.

Watchdog Transparency International ranks Indonesia as one of the world’s most corrupt countries.

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