Four politicians sentenced
in BI bribery scandal

After sentencing whistle-blower and politician Agus Condro to 15 months in prison, Jakarta Corruption Court on Thursday sentenced three other defendants in to between 18 and 20 months in prison in the same bribery scandal.

The defendants were found guilty of receiving bribes in the election of Bank Indonesia senior deputy governor Miranda Goeltom in 2004.

Willem Max Tutuarima was sentenced to 18 months in prison, while two other defendants, Max Moein and Rusman Lumbantoruan, were both sentenced to 20 months in prison.

All sentences less than those demanded by prosecutors, at 24 months for Willem, 18 months for Agus, and 30 months for Max and Rusman.

"All defendants also must pay Rp 50 million (US$ 5,850) in fines. Should they choose not to pay they could spend an additional three months in prison," presiding judge Suhartoyo said while reading out the verdict.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, prosecutor Muhammad Rum from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said his team were not about to file an appeal.

"We will decide whether to file an appeal after a careful deliberation of the entire verdict," Rum said.

Agus also told reporters he had received the verdict.

"I believe it is better this way. As all of us received bribes I would have felt more tormented if I was discharged while my colleagues were imprisoned," he said.

Agus also warned that the verdict on his case could potentially scare off whistle-blowers from reporting similar cases for fear of punishment.

"They might get scared and wonder why [they] should report [their] case and be a whistle-blower if [they] don't get any protection from the state and still get imprisoned in the end?” Agus said.

While all defendants said they would consider filing an appeal, none had made a decision on this yet.

Agus' lawyer, Firman Wijaya, said he wouldn't rule out asking for a case review or requesting a presidential pardon should an appeal fail to reduce his client's sentence.

"As this is an extraordinary crime, we must take extraordinary measures," Firman said. (mim)

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