Former Indonesian foreign minister took dirty cash: Anti-corruption agency

INDONESIA - The first hearing in the trial of a former Indonesian ambassador to the United States, Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, revealed on Wednesday that cash collected from rigging a series of international events at the Foreign Ministry in 2004-2005 partly flowed to former minister Hassan Wirajuda.

Sudjadnan, who was the Foreign Ministry's secretary-general when the alleged wrongdoing occurred, is being tried for allegedly skimming Rp 4.5 billion (S$498,207) from 12 international conferences and meetings held by the ministry, causing state losses of Rp 12 billion.

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors said the Rp 4.5 billion was used to enrich Sudjadnan, Hassan and other officials at the ministry, as well as corporations.

"A total of Rp 440 million was used to enrich Hassan Wirajuda as instructed by the defendant, who also took a Rp 300 million slice from the projects," prosecutor Kadek Wiradana read from the indictment at the Jakarta Corruption Court.

The indictment did not elaborate on how and for what purposes the money was given to Hassan.

Other alleged recipients of the illicit money were the ministry's finance bureau head, Warsita Eka, who took Rp 15 million; ministry budget division heads I Gusti Putu Adnyana and Suwartini Wirta, with Rp 165 million each; the ministry's secretariat with Rp 110 million; and other high ranking ministry officials with a total Rp 1.4 billion.

Additionally, PT Pactoconvex Niagatama and PT Royalindo allegedly received Rp 1.6 billion.

If found guilty, Sudjadnan could face life in prison for violating Article 2 of the Corruption Law.

Sudjadnan's indictment reveals that 12 international conferences and meetings organised by the ministry were marred with irregularities, such as budget markups and the hiring of event organizer firms without going through the proper mechanism.

So far, Sudjadnan is the only suspect in the case, but the KPK emphasised on Wednesday that it was also investigating other alleged perpetrators in the case, including Hassan, who currently serves as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council (Wantimpres).

"We will see how new evidence revealed in the trial may become gateways for the KPK to prosecute other individuals who might have played a role in the case," KPK spokesman Johan Budi told a press briefing on Wednesday.

Sudjadnan has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying that he was merely a victim in the case and that the committee handling the finances and logistics of the seminars and conferences was responsible.

This is not the first time Sudjadnan has stood trial for graft.

In January 2011, the Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced Sudjadnan to one year and eight months in prison for his role in the markup of the renovation of the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore between 2003 and 2004.

He was released on parole in 2012 and then promptly arrested again in the current case.

Hassan could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.

Separately, the Jakarta High Court handed down a 16-year sentence to graft convict Ahmad Fathanah, higher than the 14 years initially given by the Jakarta Corruption Court last year.

"Ahmad Fathanah has been found guilty of graft and money laundering," the court's ruling read on Wednesday.

Fathanah was convicted for his role in the beef quota graft case at the Agriculture Ministry, which also saw former Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq imprisoned for 16 years.

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