• Wed
  • Nov 19, 2014
  • Updated: 6:37am
NewsAsia
INDONESIA

Indonesian judge jailed for life over US$5m election bribes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 10:45pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 11:23pm
 

The former top judge of Indonesia's constitutional court has been jailed for life for accepting more than US$5 million in bribes to influence rulings.

A judge in Jakarta said that by accepting kickbacks to sway decisions on local election disputes, Akil Mochtar had severely damaged the constitutional court's standing.

"The defendant was the chairman of a high-level state institution that was the last bastion for people seeking justice," presiding judge Suwidya told a special anti-corruption court.

"His actions have resulted in the collapse of the authority of the constitutional court."

Mochtar, 53, described the sentence as unfair and said he would appeal.

He was caught red-handed in October in a sting by anti-corruption investigators as he was about to accept three billion rupiah (HK$1.9 million) in bribes from a businessman and a lawmaker, said prosecutors.

He is the latest in a series of top public servants to become embroiled in a corruption case, with the former top energy regulator and several government ministers among those accused.

However, his case was the most shocking in recent times, as the constitutional court had been considered one of the country's cleanest institutions.

After a long final hearing on Monday that ran into the night, judge Suwidya announced that Mochtar had been "proven legally and convincingly guilty" of corruption and money-laundering and handed him a life sentence.

He had accepted around US$5.4 million in bribes in cases linked to regional election disputes, prosecutors said.

One of the key roles of the constitutional court, created in 2001, is to decide on disputes in local and national elections.

But after the Mochtar scandal, the court ruled that it should no longer have responsibility for deciding local poll disputes.

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