Monday, 26 January 2009

Lawmaker gets 4.5 years in forest conversion graft

Lawmaker gets 4.5 years in forest conversion graft

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 01/28/2009

Former House of Representative Commission IV member Sarjan Tahir is sentenced to 4.5 years imprisonment and fined for Rp200 million for receiving a bribe to approve a project to convert a protected forest area in Banyuasin, South Sumatra, into a seaport.

Presiding judge Gusrizal told the Corruption Court that defendant Tahir was guilty of violating article 12 of the 1999 Corruption Law in receiving a Rp 5 billion bribe and also article 11 of the same law for accepting an addition Rp 170 million in connection to the Banyuasin conversion project.

"The defendant is certainly and legally proven to have committed primary and secondary graft," he said, as quoted by

Tahir's profession as a lawmaker was reportedly among the factors that had worked against him.

"The accused, however, had regretted his acts and admitted guilt, was cooperative throughout [the legal process] and upfront during questioning. These were among the factors that were to his defence," Gusrizal added.

Another member of the panel of judges, Andi Bachtiar, had nevertheless added that Tahir's crime was not a solitary one.

"There is close cooperation between House members and the South Sumatera regional government," Bachtiar said, referring to other implicated officials, namely legislators Yusuf Erwin Faishal, Azwar Chesputra and Hilman Indra, as well as former South Sumatera governor Sjahrial Osman and businessman Chandra Antonio Tan.