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Indonesia prosecutors seek 16 years for former speaker in graft case

2 min

Jakarta (AFP)

Indonesian prosecutors Thursday demanded 16 years imprisonment for former parliament speaker Setya Novanto in one of the graft-riddled country's biggest corruption cases.

The veteran politician has been indicted for allegedly taking bribes and kickbacks amounting to $7.4 million related to the procurement of an electronic ID system for Indonesia's more than 250 million inhabitants.

Novanto, 62, former chairman of a major political party, has also been accused of playing a key role in embezzlement from the $440 million project which led to the loss of $170 million from government coffers.

Lead prosecutor Abdul Basir called for the court to order Novanto to pay $7.4 million in restitution to the state.

Prosecutors also demanded the seizure of Novanto's assets if the man once regarded as one of Indonesia's most influential politicians fails to pay.

Several other politicians, as well as government officials and businessmen have been charged and convicted in relation to the case.

"We respect the prosecutors' demand but we do hope for (the judges') wisdom because my client has been helping investigators," said his lawyer Firman Wijaya.

The trial has been adjourned to April 13 to hear Novanto's defence plea.

Novanto, who has faced corruption allegations in the past but never been convicted, was detained on November 20 last year after a bizarre drama that involved a failed raid on his palatial estate and a shady car crash.

He was arrested in hospital after he claimed to have been injured in the crash.

The country's graft buster has charged Novanto's then lawyer and doctor with obstructing investigation by faking the politician's hospitalisation which was believed to be an attempt to dodge arrest.

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