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Two West Papua councillors tried for Rp 22 billion graft

Jakarta Post - November 14, 2013

Nethy Dharma Somba, Jayapura – Two members of the West Papua Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD) and the director of a provincial business appeared at the Jayapura Corruption Court on Wednesday as their trials began concerning a Rp 22 billion (US$1.89 million) graft case.

The case implicates all 44 members of the West Papua DPRD, but Wednesday's trial hearing focused on deputy speakers Robert Melianus Nauw and Jimmy Demianus Idjie, along with the director of PT Papua Doberai Mandiri (PDM), Mamad Suhadi.

The trial was presided over by judge Khairul Fuad, while Gde Made Pasek led the prosecution. The three defendants have been charged under the 2001 Corruption Law. If found guilty, they face up to 20 years' imprisonment.

DPRD Speaker Yosef Yohan Auri and former provincial secretary Marthen Luther Ruimadas were indicted last week.

The indictment revealed that the Rp 22 billion was part of PDM's capital that had been allocated by the provincial administration as part of a program to improve people's welfare. The money was intended for natural resource management, development, trade and industry, and services.

PDM was established on May 18, 2009, with basic capital of Rp 100 billion paid by the provincial administration.

The 44 councilors allegedly borrowed Rp 22 billion from PDM in September 2010 to meet their personal expenses, such as their houses and cars, as well as to cover costs in relation to their constituents, with Idul Fitri, Christmas and New Year's Day all imminent.

The loans from PDM were disbursed after a discussion between defendants Auri, Nauw, Ruimadas and Mamad, who approved the loans. The loans were disbursed in two payments of Rp 15 billion and Rp 7 billion.

Prosecutors said that based on Government Regulation No. 24/2004, speakers and members of regional legislatures received various perks and allowances. By using PDM's capital for loans to the DPRD members, the aim of generating income or improving public services were not met.