Jakarta, Indonesia.- An Indonesian court sentenced a politician praised by President Donald Trump to 15 years in prison on Tuesday for his role in the theft of $170 million of public money, a victory for anti-corruption police fighting the country’s rampant graft.
Setya Novanto, the former speaker of Indonesia’s parliament and former chairman of the Golkar party, sat impassively, bowing his head slightly, as the guilty verdict and sentence were announced at the Jakarta Corruption Court.
Asked by the five-judge panel to respond, Novanto, his voice trembling, said he would think about whether to appeal or accept the outcome.
Prosecutors said Novanto was among about 80 officials, lawmakers and several companies who used the introduction of a $440 million electronic identity card system in 2011 and 2012 to steal more than a third of the funds.
The ruling said Novanto enriched himself with millions of dollars of public money by abusing the authority and opportunities available to him because of his political position.
“The defendant has consciously committed a criminal act of corruption,” the chief judge, Yanto, who uses one name, told the court.
The corruption case, epic even by the standards of Indonesia’s notoriously corrupt parliament, and Novanto’s monthslong efforts to elude questioning by the Corruption Eradication Commission disgusted and angered many in the world’s third-largest democracy.
The anti-graft commission’s lead investigator in the scandal was attacked with acid after leaving dawn prayers in April last year and blinded. No one has been arrested.