Corruption Watchdog Arrests another MP

JAKARTA ~ The powerful Corruption Eradication Commission arrested a lawmaker on Wednesday for allegedly taking bribes from developers, the sixth MP to be detained so far this year in a major corruption crackdown, an official said.

Yusuf Emir Faishal of ex-president Abdurrahman Wahid’s National Awakening Party was arrested in the early hours of the morning, commission spokesman Johan Budi said.

The MP was suspected of taking bribes in connection with a parliamentary decision to approve the rezoning of forest land for commercial development.

“He was arrested early on Wednesday and has been named a suspect in the case,” Budi said.

The MP had already returned Rp750 million (US$81,750) in alleged bribe money but the total he was suspected of taking from developers was not known.

Faishal was the head of a parliamentary commission overseeing forest management in 2005 when he allegedly received bribes to allow development on some 600 hectares of mangrove forest in South Sumatra province.

Indonesia is one of the world’s most corrupt countries and ranks 143rd on Transparency International’s global corruption perceptions index, on an equal pegging with Russia, Togo and Gambia.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to stamp out corruption when he was elected in 2004 and the anti-corruption commission has recently launched a series of high-profile raids.

Its targets have included core institutions such as the Supreme Court and the central bank, as well as the attorney’s general’s and customs offices.

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