Indonesian politician Batubara jailed for embezzling COVID-19 aid funds

Batubara jailed for embezzling COVID-19 aid funds

An Indonesian politician was on Monday, sentenced to 12 years in prison for embezzling more than $1 million in COVID-19 aid funds while serving as minister of social affairs last year.

A Jakarta court found Juliari Batubara guilty of accepting 14.6 billion rupiah (1.16 million dollars) in bribery from companies contracted to provide food relief packages to Indonesians affected by the pandemic.

Batubara, a former treasury official for the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, was ordered to repay the monies or face a second two-year imprisonment.

After serving his term, he would be forbidden from holding political office for four years.

The ministry requested a price of 10,000 rupiah (less than one dollar) for each food bag under a COVID-19 aid program worth 5.9 trillion rupiah, according to the prosecutors.

Batubara was Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s fourth cabinet member to be imprisoned for corruption.

Edhy Prabowo, a politician, was sentenced to five years in prison last month for accepting 4.3 billion rupiah in exchange for granting companies permits to export baby lobsters when he was fisheries minister last year.

According to the Corruption Eradication Commission, Prabowo used bribe money to purchase luxury items in Hawaii, including Rolex watches and Tumi and Louis Vuitton bags, while on business.

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