West Sumatra District Head Gets Four Years’ Imprisonment for Graft
Jakarta. A district head in West Sumatra was sentenced to four years in jail for corruption on Wednesday, expanding the list of troubled elected politicians across the country.
South Solok District Head Muzni Zakaria was found guilty of taking bribe in infrastructure projects in the district during a hearing at the Anti-Corruption Court in the provincial capital Padang.
He has accepted nearly Rp 3 billion in kickbacks from businessmen involved in the construction of the Ambayan Bridge and the Grand Mosque in the district, the court heard.
The judge panel also abolished his rights for political participation within four years after he completes his jail term.
The sentence, however, is lower than the prosecution demand of six years’ imprisonment.
The Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, has arrested dozens of mayors, districts heads and a governor on corruption charges in the last two years.
KPK Chairman Firli Bahuri said earlier that since direct elections of local leaders were introduced in 2005, around 300 elected leaders have been named graft suspects by the KPK, the prosecutor’s office and the National Police.
According to Firli, an internal research by the KPK found that any candidate in a mayoral or district head election must have at least Rp 5 billion in hand to finance their campaign and in many cases a winning candidate had to spend Rp 65 billion.
Elected regional leaders then develop transactional relations with their donors, thus opening door to corruption, he said on Tuesday.
"I mean those candidates have sold themselves to a third party who financed their campaign,” Firli said.
Since its establishment, the KPK has arrested 21 governors and 122 mayors and district heads across the country.