Saturday, September 18, 2021

Politician jailed for stealing COVID-19 funds in Indonesia

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An Indonesian politician was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday for embezzling more than 1 million dollars of COVID-19 aid funds when he was social affairs minister last year.

Juliari Batubara was guilty of having accepted 14.6 billion rupiah (1.16 million dollars) in kickbacks from companies appointed to supply food aid packages to Indonesians affected by the pandemic, a Jakarta court said.

Batubara, a former treasury official for the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, was ordered to return the embezzled funds or serve an additional sentence of two years.

He would be barred from holding political office for four years after completing his sentence.

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The prosecutors said the ministry asked for a fee of 10,000 rupiah (less than one dollar) for every food pack in a COVID-19 aid programme worth 5.9 trillion rupiah.

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Batubara was the fourth member of Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s cabinet to have been jailed for corruption.

Last month, politician Edhy Prabowo was sentenced to five years for accepting 4.3 billion rupiah in return for awarding companies permits to export baby lobsters when he was fisheries minister last year.

The Corruption Eradication Commission said Prabowo used bribe money to buy luxury items including Rolex watches and Tumi and Louis Vuitton bags – in Hawaii while on a business trip.

dpa/NAN

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