Indonesia's anti-graft body targets parliament speaker

Setya Novanto stands accused of cheating state out of more than US$170 million
Indonesia's anti-graft body targets parliament speaker

Indonesian parliament speaker Setya Novanto is seen during an official function at the parliament in Jakarta, in this 2015 file photo. Novanto has been named as a suspect by the country's anti-graft body in an electronic identity card corruption case. (Photo by Andri Nurdriansyah/AFP)

July 19, 2017
Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission has named the country’s House of Representatives speaker as a suspect in an electronic identity card graft case, a move backed by a priest.

Commission chairman Agus Rahardjo said Setya Novanto, was named a suspect for allegedly abusing his authority and position for personal gain or for the interest of a corporation, which caused at least 2.3 trillion rupiah (US$172,800,000) in state losses.

Novanto, if found guilty, could face a jail term of between one and 20 years and a fine of between 50 million and 1 billion rupiah.

A leading church figure has backed the commission's decision.

"The move is incredible. The commission is showing some bravery going after such a high-profile person," said Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko, executive secretary of the bishops' Commission for Justice and Peace, told on July 18.

"It is new in our history. It is the first time the commission has named a parliament speaker as a suspect in a graft case since its establishment," he said.

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