Indonesia ex-sports minister jailed in S$50 million graft case

Indonesia's former sports minister Andi Mallarangeng greets his counsel following a guilty verdict by an anti-corruption court in Jakarta on July 18, 2014. Indonesia's former sports minister was jailed for four years on Friday, July 18, 2014, ov
Indonesia's former sports minister Andi Mallarangeng greets his counsel following a guilty verdict by an anti-corruption court in Jakarta on July 18, 2014. Indonesia's former sports minister was jailed for four years on Friday, July 18, 2014, over a US$40 million (S$50 million) corruption case, the latest sentencing to have hit the popularity of the outgoing government. -- PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia's former sports minister was jailed for four years on Friday over a US$40 million (S$50 million) corruption case, the latest sentencing to have hit the popularity of the outgoing government.

Andi Mallarangeng, who had been considered an up-and-coming politician, accepted more than US$700,000 in bribes to favour a particular bidder to construct a sports stadium on the main island of Java, according to prosecutors.

The stadium was supposed to be a first-class training centre for Indonesian athletes but its construction was never completed after it became bogged down in corruption, with the loss to the state estimated at around US$40 million, according to prosecutors.

At Friday's hearing in a special anti-corruption court in the capital Jakarta, chief judge Haswandi said that Mallarangeng, who was sports and youth minister, had been proven guilty of corruption and abuse of power.

He received kickbacks through his brother, and was also found to have enriched other people and several companies in the corrupt scheme, said the judge, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

"His deeds was against the government program in eradicating the corruption, collusion and nepotism," the judge said.

As well as the four-year jail term, Mallarangeng was also ordered to pay a fine of 200 million rupiah (S$21,384) or serve an extra two months in jail.

However the sentence was shorter than the 10 years demanded by prosecutors. Mallarangeng said he would file an appeal.

Mallarangeng, 51, is the latest in a string of senior figures from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party to become embroiled in graft scandals in one of the world's most corrupt countries.

The treasurer and chairman from Yudhoyono's party have both been linked to them, while the religion minister - who is from a different party - quit his post in May over corruption.

The flood of scandals contributed to a huge fall in support for the Democratic Party at legislative elections in April, when their support halved to around 10 per cent.

Yudhoyono steps down in October after a decade in power.

Indonesia is ranked 114th out of 177 countries and territories in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. A number one ranking means the least corrupt.