Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Indonesia: Riau Islands governor jailed for four years in bribery case

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A panel of judges at the Jakarta Corruption Court has sentenced suspended Riau Islands governor Nurdin Basirun to four years in prison for accepting bribes in relation to a reclamation project in the province.

The governor was also ordered to pay a fine of Rp 200 million (US$12,592) and Rp 4.22 billion in restitution fees for his crimes.

“If [the defendant] does not pay [the restitution fee] within one month after the court’s decision, the defendant’s property will be confiscated and auctioned off to cover it,” presiding judge Yanto read the verdict during a virtual hearing on Thursday.

The court also revoked Nurdin’s right to run for office for the next five years.

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Prosecutors previously demanded a six-year sentence and a fine of Rp 250 million.

Both Nurdin and Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors told the bench that they were considering whether to appeal the sentence.

The KPK arrested and named Nurdin a graft suspect in July last year for allegedly accepting bribes and unlawful gifts from local businessman Abu Bakar over the deliberation of the province’s zoning plan on coastal areas and small islands.

Abu Bakar allegedly bribed the governor in exchange for a reclamation permit at Tanjung Piayu in Batam, which would later be used as a resort and tourist area even though the site was previously reserved for land cultivation and a protected forest.

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Nurdin is suspected of having accepted a total of Rp 665 million in different currencies, including the Singaporean dollar and US dollar.

The KPK also named Abu Bakar, Riau Islands Maritime Affairs Agency head Edy Sofyan and agency official Budi Hartono suspects in the case.

Nurdin was elected Riau Islands governor in April 2016. He was replaced by his deputy Isdianto shortly after his arrest.

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