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Indonesia’s former sports minister jailed for corruption

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This file picture shows then-Indonesian Sport and Youth Minister Imam Nahrawi (C) posing with badminton mixed doubles pair Tontowi Ahmad (L) and Liliyana Natsir (R) during their arrival in Indonesia, following their gold medal win in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. AFP

Jakarta, Indonesia (AFP) – An Indonesian former sports minister has been jailed for seven years after being found guilty of taking $800,000 in bribes, his lawyer said Tuesday.

The sentence handed down Monday by a Jakarta anti-corruption court came after Imam Nahrawi was convicted of accepting bribes to approve grants given the Indonesian Sports Council.

The 46-year-old was also banned from running for public office for four years and given a month to pay restitution of $1.3 million or see his assets auctioned.

Nahrawi — who stepped down last year when named as a suspect in the case — stands by his innocence, his lawyer Wa Ode Nur Zainab told AFP.

“We are still discussing whether or not to file an appeal,” he said Tuesday.

“The accusations are baseless because the prosecutors did not show any evidence.”

Despite efforts to combat the problem, corruption remains widespread in the Southeast Asian nation, where the parliament is seen as one of the most graft-riddled institutions.

In 2014, another former sports minister, Andi Mallarangeng, was sentenced to four years in jail in a corruption case linked to the construction of a sports complex in West Java province.

He was released in 2017.

Last month, Indonesian badminton legend Taufik Hidayat claimed the sports ministry was full of corrupt “rats”, and that it was common for officials to embezzle funds through sports programmes.

His comments came as he testified as a witness at Nahrawi’s trial. The athlete admitted that he delivered money to Nahrawi’s personal assistant, but denied knowing the money was a bribe.

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