• 07:33
  • 06.08.2021
Indonesia's ex-parliament speaker indicted

Indonesia's ex-parliament speaker indicted

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Indonesian prosecutors have charged former parliament speaker Setya Novanto over a $A238 million graft scandal after he held up proceedings for hours at the opening of his trial, saying he was ill.

Novanto has been brought to trial by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which suspects extensive pilfering of public funds linked to a national identity card program.

"The defendant both directly and indirectly intervened in the budgeting and procurement of goods and services," prosecutor Irene Putri said while reading out the indictment on Thursday.
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The charges include allegations Novanto received $A10.2 million in bribes, and a $A189,000 watch, for his role in fixing a marked-up budget for the identity card program.

Novanto, who has denied wrongdoing, faces up to 20 years in prison, according to prosecutors.

According to local media reports, the Golkar Party, which Novanto had also chaired, replaced him with Airlangga Hartanto, who is currently serving as the Industry Minister, on Wednesday night. Novanto resigned from his post as parliament speaker earlier this week.
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The politician has earned a reputation for his capacity to cling to power through several previous corruption cases.

Novanto repeatedly missed summonses for questioning by the anti-graft agency in the latest case, saying he needed heart surgery, but was put under armed guard in hospital and taken into custody last month.

Novanto arrived at court on Wednesday and held up proceedings when he said he had diarrhoea and needed medical attention.
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After long delays to allow doctors to examine Novanto, the presiding judge at the Jakarta corruption court let prosecutors read out the charges, which included unlawful intervention in the procurement process of the ID cards.

The allegations against Novanto have reinforced the perception among Indonesians that their parliament, long regarded as riddled with entrenched corruption, is a failing institution.

The watchdog has singled out parliament as Indonesia's most corrupt institution.
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