Indonesia ex-top judge faces life sentence over graft

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian prosecutors sought a life sentence Monday for a former top judge accused of accepting bribes in more than a dozen cases involving regional election disputes, and of money-laundering.

Former constitutional court chief judge Akil Mochtar was arrested last year by officials of the powerful anti-graft body while a businessman and lawmaker were about to hand him around three billion rupiah (S$317,866), prosecutors said.

"The defendant has been legally and convincingly proven guilty of accepting presents (bribes)... to intervene in constitutional court rulings," prosecutor Pulung Rinandoro told an anti-corruption court in Jakarta.

He called for a life sentence, a fine of 10 billion rupiah and the revocation of Mochtar's political rights.

Mochtar, 53, allegedly accepted more than US$4.8 million (S$6 million) in bribes in relation to 15 disputed regional elections and is suspected of having laundered more than 161 billion rupiah from 2010 to 2013, the prosecutor said.

One of the constitutional court's main roles is to decide on electoral disputes.

The court, created in 2001, also hears cases about the constitution and rules on any attempt to impeach the president.

Emerson Yuntho from NGO Indonesian Corruption Watch said he hoped judges would follow the prosecutors' recommendation "in order to deter government officials from committing corruption".

The NGO said Indonesia had previously sentenced four businessmen to life imprisonment for corruption.

Indonesia is consistently ranked one of the world's most corrupt countries.

NGO Transparency International ranked it 114th out of 177 countries and territories in its annual corruption perceptions index last year. A number one ranking means the least corrupt.

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