The Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced on Thursday Ahmad Jauhari, a former senior official at the Religious Affairs Ministry, to eight years in prison for his role in rigging the procurement of Korans.
The panel of judges at the court, led by Judge Annas Mustaqim, also ordered Jauhari, former director of sharia guidance at the ministry's directorate general for Islamic guidance, to pay a fine of Rp 200 million (S$21,800) or face an additional six months in prison.
The court also ordered Jauhari to reimburse the state the Rp 100 million and $15,000 that he took as bribes. The sentence was lower than the 13 years demanded by Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors.
KPK prosecutors charged Jauhari under Article 2, on self-enrichment, and Article 3, on abuse of authority, of the 2001 Corruption Law.
Last year, the court sentenced Golkar Party lawmaker Zulkarnaen Djabar and his son Dendy Prasetya to 15 and eight years in prison respectively for their role in the same graft case.
In its indictment prosecutors said that Jauhari collaborated with other individuals in the ministry, including Abdul Karim, the secretary-general at Jauhari's directorate, Mashuri, a staffer at the ministry, deputy Religious Affairs Ministry Nasaruddin Umar, Zulkarnaen, Golkar Party politician Fahd El Fouz, directors of PT Adhi Aksara Abadi Indonesia Ali Djufrie and of PT Sinergi Pustaka Indonesia Abdul Kadir Alaydrus.
For the procurement of Korans in 2012, Jauhari chose PT Sinergi Pustaka Indonesia as the winner of the project. For this service, Jauhari received Rp 100 million and $15,000 from Abdul and Ali.
Responding to the verdict, Jauhari called on the KPK to indict his colleagues at the Religious Affairs Ministry. "The corruption eradication campaign will not be successful if the court only sentences me, because it's my colleagues and other players who set me up," he said, before Judge Annas stopped him mid-sentence.
Outside the courtroom, Jauhari said that KPK prosecutors should also prosecute Nasaruddin and Abdul for their key roles in the procurement from 2011 to 2012.
"They were the ones who were actually responsible for the embezzlement scheme. I was only an official who was in charge of making commitments," he said.
Jauhari said that he was made a scapegoat to take the fall for his superiors. "I'm sure that KPK investigators and prosecutors will not stop and I say once again that I never had any intention of stealing money from the project," he said.
The value of the Quran-procurement project was Rp 20 billion in 2011 and Rp 55 billion in 2012. According to an investigative audit by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) the state losses that resulted from the graft-ridden procurements amounted to Rp 27 billion in 2011 and 2012.
Recently, the KPK has launched a preliminary investigation into alleged irregularities in the management of the haj pilgrimage fund during 2012-2013.
The KPK finally launched a preliminary investigation after reviewing reports from non-governmental groups and an audit report by the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK), which alleged extensive irregularities over the last eight years, involving the savings of prospective pilgrims.
Both reports were submitted to the KPK in January 2013. The KPK also said it had sent investigators to Mecca to observe the implementation of haj programs last year.
Data from the PPATK found the ministry had managed Rp 80 trillion in haj funds, with accrued interest of Rp 2.3 trillion from 2004 to 2012.
According to the KPK, the Religious Affairs Ministry was the most corrupt institution of 22 government agencies it surveyed in 2011.
The ministry received 5.37 points out of a possible 10, below the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, which received 5.44 points, and the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry, which received 5.52 points.