The Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Monday sentenced the former head of the Central Sulawesi district of Buol, Amran Batalipu, to seven-and-a-half years in jail for taking bribes from businesswoman Siti Hartati Murdaya.
Amran was also ordered to pay Rp 300 million ($31,000) in fines, or serve an extra six months in jail. The judges, however, did not require him to return the Rp 3 billion ($311,000) he had received from Hartati via her subordinates, Yani Anshori and Gondo Sudjono.
“Prosecutors have demanded that defendant Amran Batalipu pay Rp 3 billion in compensation. But the panel of judges thinks [he] should only compensate if he [embezzled] state money,” judge I Made Hendra said as he read out the verdict.
“We cannot ask the defendant to compensate any money because there is no state loss in this case,” he added.
Amran was named a bribery suspect after he was caught red-handed receiving money from Yani and Gondo in July last year in exchange for land concessions for Hartati’s oil palm plantation companies, Hardaya Inti Plantation and Cipta Cakra Murdaya.
The sentence he received on Monday is lighter than the 12 years in prison sought by prosecutors, but more than the two years and eight months that Hartati received earlier this month.
The sentence is also heavier than the one-and-a-half years in prison for Yani, the general manager of Hardaya Inti Plantation, and one year for Gondo, the operational director, both of which were handed down in November of last year.
Amran said after the trial that he would appeal the case.
“I didn’t use the money for personal interest. I used it for the interests of the Buol people,” he said.
Suara Pembaruan, JG