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In a verdict announced on Wednesday, Indonesia’s court against corruption sentenced a former member of the cabinet to 15 years behind bars after convicting him of corruption linked to the establishment of mobile phone transmission towers in remote areas of the nation.
Johnny G. Plate, the former Minister of Communications and Information Technology, was apprehended in May following interrogation as part of a probe by the Attorney General’s Office in Jakarta. Subsequently, he, along with five other individuals, including three from the private sector, was detained after approximately 60 people were interrogated regarding the acquisition process.
The court also mandated that Platt either pay a fine of 1 billion rupiah ($63,765) or serve an additional six months in prison. Furthermore, he has been instructed to reimburse the state for damages amounting to 15.5 billion rupiah ($988).
Throughout the trial, which commenced in June, the prosecution alleged that Platt modified the terms of the $533 million procurement project and the quantity of construction sites without conducting an assessment of feasibility. It was also claimed that he personally benefitted with a sum of $1.2 million.
The construction project associated with Plate commenced in late 2020 with the goal of extending mobile phone coverage to over 7,900 unoccupied locations in the remote provinces of Papua, Sulawesi, Borneo, Sumatra, and East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia.
Plate, who was aligned with the ruling coalition Nasdem party, has become the fifth former minister in President Joko Widodo’s administration to face charges and receive a conviction for corruption. This has cast a shadow over the president’s efforts to purge corruption from the government, as he continues to search for his successor. His tenure will conclude in 2024.
In October, the Corruption Eradication Commission detained another politician from the Nasdem party, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, who previously held the position of agriculture minister.
Achmad Ibrahim and Edna Tarigan, The Associated Press