Indonesia jails top traffic cop in $23 mn graft scandal

Indonesia jails top traffic cop in $23 mn graft scandal
Indonesian police general Djoko Susilo leaves the courtroom after his verdict in Jakarta September 3, 2013. The Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court sentenced Susilo to 10 years in prison and handed down a 500 million rupiah fine on Tuesday, local media reported

JAKARTA - Indonesia's anti-corruption court jailed the country's former traffic police chief for 10 years on Tuesday after he built up an US$18 million (S$23 million) empire by accepting enormous bribes.

The sentencing of Djoko Susilo brings to an end a dramatic case that has captivated Indonesia, and is a major victory for anti-graft investigators battling against the odds in one of the world's most corrupt countries.

Susilo reportedly earned a humble police salary of US$1,000 a month - but the country's anti-graft agency seized assets from him, including houses, cars and even petrol kiosks, worth 200 billion rupiah (around US$18 million).

After taking several hours to read the 3,000-page indictment against Susilo, a five-judge panel unanimously found him guilty of corruption and money laundering.

"It was clear to the panel he had committed acts of corruption," said Judge Anwar, who goes by one name, as the sentence was handed down after the verdict was announced.

Susilo was also ordered to pay a fine of 500 million rupiah (US$45,000) at the end of the lengthy trial, which started in April.

Prosecutors had sought an 18-year jail term and a one-billion-rupiah fine.

The case began with the discovery that a tender for driving simulators in 2011 had been rigged, with Susilo accused of syphoning off 32 billion rupiah from the failed project.

Police initially sought to protect Susilo by refusing to let the anti-graft commission, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), handle the case.

But they were finally forced to hand the case over - and the anti-corruption agency quickly discovered a vast empire built on the back of corrupt payments.

The KPK has been granted extraordinary powers to investigate the rich and powerful in Indonesia, ranked 118th most corrupt country in the world in a 176-nation index compiled by Transparency International.

The commission has helped put senior officials and powerful businesspeople behind bars, in the process winning the fervent support of ordinary Indonesians, many of whom live in grinding poverty.

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