Former Indonesian MP Sentenced to 15 Years for Graft

An Indonesian official was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for his role in defrauding the government of US$170 million through a national electronic identity card project, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Setya novanto official copy copySetya Novanto (Source: Indonesian People's Representative Council (DPR))The former speaker of parliament Setya Novanto was convicted of conspiracy to commit corruption, sentenced to fifteen years in prison, and fined the equivalent of $36,000. 

This is the fifth corruption scandal Novanto has been implicated in since the 1990’s, but the first that has resulted in a conviction.

Novanto was arrested in November 2017 after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) found that he orchestrated a scheme to steal over a third of the US$440 million in state funds gained from increasing the cost of cards for the national electronic identity system.

The KPK has been applauded as one of the most effective anti-corruption agencies in Southeast Asia despite efforts to discredit the organization. The Commission’s investigations have led to the detention of ministers, governors, judges, other high-ranking officials, and members of parliament.

 “This is a warning to anybody not to act against the law,” Vice President Jusuf Kalla told Metro TV regarding the verdict.

The ruling comes as a welcome surprise in a country where the constituency ranks the parliament as one of the most corrupt government institutions, according to report from Transparency International.