Indonesian Courth Delivers Sentence in High-Profile Bribery Case

Gayus Tambunan

Jan 19 (KATAKAMI.COM / VOA) —- An Indonesian court handed a seven-year sentence Wednesday to the defendant in a bribery case that has fascinated the country while raising questions about the government’s ability to deal with widespread corruption.

The sentence was given to Gayus Tambunan, a low-level tax official who was convicted of accepting millions of dollars in bribes for helping wealthy companies and individuals to avoid paying taxes. Despite his meager salary, Tambunan was living in a lavish mansion at the time of his arrest and had more than $3 million in bank accounts.

The long-running case included an earlier acquittal in which Tambunan was found to have bribed the judge, and reports that he appeared in disguise at a tennis tournament while supposedly still in jail. Tambunan testified at his trial that he was just a “small fish” in a corruption network that involved senior police, immigration officials and judges.

The case has helped to undermine the popularity of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who won re-election in April 2009 on a promise to clean up corruption.

Mr. Yudhoyono issued a decree on Monday ordering officials to investigate all aspects of the case. (*)

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