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Indonesia’ Sentences Another Former Minister to 15 Years for Graft Over Internet Tower Project

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s anti-graft court on Wednesday sentenced a former Cabinet minister to 15 years in prison after finding him guilty of corruption linked to the construction of mobile phone transmission towers in remote parts of the country.

Johnny G. Plate, former communication and information technology minister, was arrested in May after being questioned as part of an investigation by the attorney general’s office in Jakarta. He was detained with five other suspects, including three from the private sector, after some 60 people were questioned about the procurement process.

The court also ordered Plate to pay a fine of 1 billion rupiah ($63,765) — or spend an additional six months in prison — and to also reimburse the state for losses of 15.5 billion rupiah ($988).

During the trial, which started in June, the prosecutors alleged that Plate changed the terms of the $533 million procurement project and the number of construction sites without conducting feasibility studies and that he personally enriched himself in the amount of $1.2 million.

The construction project involving Plate began in late 2020 to provide mobile phone coverage to more than 7,900 blank spots in Indonesia’s outermost, underdeveloped and remote areas of Papua, Sulawesi, Borneo, Sumatra and East Nusa Tenggara provinces.

Plate, who was part of the ruling coalition NasDem party, is the fifth former minister from President Joko Widodo’s administrations to be charged and sentenced for corruption, casting a shadow over the president’s efforts to clean up the government while he looks for a successor after his term ends in 2024.

In October, the Corruption Eradication Commission arrested Syahrul Yasin Limpo, the second politician from NasDem party, who is also former agriculture minister.

Source : ABC