Sun, 1 Oct 2023


Indo Minister arrested over telecommunications graft
Published on: Thursday, May 18, 2023
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Indo Minister arrested over telecommunications graft
JAKARTA: Indonesian authorities arrested a senior minister on Wednesday for his alleged role in a corruption case stemming from a telecommunications project that has cost the country more than half a billion dollars in losses.Clad in the bright pink vest usually worn by corruption suspects, Communication and Information Technology Minister Johnny Gerard Plate (pic) was questioned for hours at the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) before being bundled into a car and taken to a detention centre in Jakarta. “Based on today’s investigation, we concluded there has been sufficient evidence that he (Plate) was involved in a base transceiver stations corruption case,” said the AGO’s investigation director for extraordinary crimes, Kuntadi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. The base transceiver stations (BTS) project was led by an agency under the communication ministry, and was aimed at providing 4G internet access to remote areas across the archipelago. The AGO did not elaborate on Plate’s role in the case or how much he allegedly profited, citing the ongoing investigation. However, the malfeasance had resulted in overall losses amounting to 8.03 trillion rupiah ($540 million), Kuntadi told reporters. The AGO reported that it had found irregularities in the procurement process involving local and foreign companies, previously naming five other suspects in the case, including an executive of a subsidiary of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. “This is a very strategic case. This is the government’s program for many people in the outermost territories, in the most remote places, and who therefore badly need (the BTS infrastructure),” AGO spokesman Ketut Sumedana told a press conference. If found guilty, Plate could face 20 years in prison under Indonesia’s anti-corruption law. Indonesia has arrested scores of public officials for graft in recent years. In 2021, a former social affairs minister was jailed for 12 years after being convicted of taking $1.2 million in bribes linked to food aid for poor families hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

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