Ex-Riau Governor Gets 14 Years Over Logging Permit, National Games Corruption Cases

Riau Governor Rusli Zainal, center, comes out of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office after a questioning session on June 14, 2013. (JG Photo/Marcel Kataren)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 7:17 PM March 12, 2014
Category : News, Featured, Corruption

 Riau Governor Rusli Zainal, center, comes out of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office after a questioning session on June 14, 2013. (JG Photo/Marcel Kataren) Riau Governor Rusli Zainal, center, leaves the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office after a questioning session on June 14, 2013. (JG Photo/Marcel Kataren)

Jakarta. Former Riau Governor Rusli Zainal was sentenced on Wednesday to 14 years in prison for bribery and abuse of power in connection to two graft cases involving the 2012 National Games (PON) and the illegal issuance of forestry permits.

Rusli was also ordered to pay Rp 1 billion ($87,500) in fines, or serve an extra six months in prison. The sentence is slightly lower than prosecutors' initial demand for a 17 year sentence.

"The defendant has been proven validly and convincingly guilty of corruption," presiding judge Bachtiar Sitompul said as he read out the verdict at the Pekanbaru Anti-Corruption Court. "The defendant consciously committed the crime[s], providing a bad example for the public."

Rusli was proven guilty of three counts of corruption in total.

For the first count, the Golkar Party politician was proven guilty of receiving Rp 500 million in kickbacks from a manager of state-owned construction firm Adhi Karya, one of several companies that won contracts to build PON facilities in Riau.

He was also found guilty of ordering Lukman Abbas, the former head of Riau's sports agency, to funnel Rp 9 billion in bribes to Golkar lawmakers Kahar Muzakkir and Setya Novanto, as well as Rp 900 million to several provincial legislators in connection to the graft-ridden PON projects.

A number of provincial legislators and local administration officials have already been convicted in the PON case.

For the third count, Rusli was proven guilty of embezzlement in connection to the illegal issuance of logging permits between 2001 and 2006 in Riau’s Pelalawan district.

"The issuance [of the logging permits] resulted in forest destruction and caused the state Rp 265 billion in losses," Bachtiar said as quoted by Indonesian news portal liputan6.com.

The former district chief of Pelalawan, Tengku Azmun Jaafar, was sentenced to 11 years in 2009 for his role in the logging permit graft.

Prosecutors earlier said that the logging permits were given to companies Mitra Tani Nusa Sejati, Rimba Mutiara Permai, Selaras Abadi Utama, Bhakti Praja Mulia, Putri Lindung Bulan, Mitra Hutani Jaya, Satria Perkasa Agung and Seraya Sumber Lestari.

They supplied giant pulp companies Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper (IKPP) and Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), according to the state-run Antara news agency.

Rusli said he would appeal the verdict.

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