Former Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali (who was also Chairman of the Islamic political party PPP) was sentenced to six years in jail and a fine of IDR 300 million (or three additional months in prison) by the Jakarta Corruption Court (Tipikor) on Monday (11/01). Suryadharma was found guilty of self-enrichment by deliberately mishandling state funds that were allocated to the hajj pilgrimage program covering the financial years 2010-2013.
Besides engaging in corrupt activity related to the state pilgrimage fund, Suryadharma was also found guilty of abusing ministerial funds for self-enrichment and enrichment of his family. Therefore, Suryadharma is also ordered to pay compensation (IDR 1.8 billion) to the government. If the former Religious Affairs minister (2009-2014 in the second Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono cabinet) fails to comply with this payment, then his possessions will be confiscated or he will spend an additional two years in prison.
Suryadharma Ali resigned from his ministerial post on 26 May 2014 after having been named a suspect in a corruption case by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) one week earlier.
Political corruption has been a notorious problem in Indonesia and seriously undermines people's confidence in the nation's politics and political leaders. In the latest Corruption Perceptions Index Indonesia occupied the 107th place (out of a total of 175 countries), implying a high degree of perceived corruption.
Read Column: Analysis of Political Corruption in Indonesia
Below we present some examples of recent corruption scandals that led to the imprisonment of Indonesia's political leaders:
• Akil Mochtar, the Chief Justice of Indonesia's Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi), was sentenced for life in 2014 after being found guilty of accepting a bribe to influence the court's ruling on the Gunung Mas election dispute in Central Kalimantan.
• Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng was sentenced to four years imprisonment in 2014 after being involved in a corruption case related to the construction of a sports complex (Hambalang sports complex) in Bogor (West Java).
• Former Deputy Governor of Indonesia's central bank (Bank Indonesia) Budi Mulya was sentenced to ten years imprisonment in 2014 after being found guilty of self-enrichment and corruption in connection to the government's bailout package for Bank Century in 2008.
• Rudi Rubiandini, former Head of Indonesia's oil & gas regulator SKK Migas, was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2014 for money laundering and accepting bribes from Singapore-based Kernel Oil Pte Ltd and Indonesia-based Kaltim Parna Industri. Former Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik has been named a suspect in this case and still awaits his court case.
• Former Chairman of the Democratic Party (Partai Demokrat, PD) Anas Urbaningrum was sentenced to eight years imprisonment in 2014 after being found guilty of corruption and repeated money laundering.
• Luthfi Hasan Ishak, Chairman of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2013 after being found guilty of accepting a bribe from Indoguna Utama in exchange for Ishak's support for appointing the company as a beef importer, a policy that is overseen by the Agriculture ministry.