Jakarta – A panel of judges at the Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced on Monday evening suspended Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf to seven years in prison for accepting bribes and unlawful gifts that he later distributed, among others, to his close companion Steffy Burase.
The judges found Irwandi guilty of accepting bribes from Bener Meriah regent Ahmadi totaling Rp 1.05 billion (US$74,084) in exchange for a number of infrastructure projects in the regency. He was also found to have accepted Rp 8.7 billion in gratuities from businessmen during his two terms as governor.
At least Rp 568 million was transferred to Steffy, who used the money to pay her taxes and to also buy uniforms and medals for a marathon she initiated.
Steffy denied during the trial of having been married to Irwan, but acknowledged they "were close". She said a marriage plan had been dropped because Irwan was still married to Darwati A. Agani.
The judges ordered the 58-year-old man to pay a fine of Rp 300 million or serve an additional three months' imprisonment. He will also have his political rights suspended for three years after his release.
"Moreover, we punished him by revoking his right to run for office for three years after he serves his sentence," said presiding judge Saifudin Zuhri while reading the verdict.
Once a leader of the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM), Irwandi was first elected governor in 2007. He was later reelected in 2017.
Irwandi is the second Aceh governor to be convicted of corruption after Abdullah Puteh, who was sentenced to 10 years for accepting a bribe in connection to the procurement of an US$872,500 MI-2 Rostov helicopter.
Irwandi's lawyers said they would appeal his sentence.While leading GAM, Irwan was also jailed for treason but escaped in 2004 when a tsunami ravaged the province.(das)