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Speaker goes on trial in multi-million-dollar corruption case

Indonesian Parliament Speaker went on trial on Wednesday for alleged involvement in a multi-million-dollar graft case.

House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto was arrested in November by the country’s anti-corruption commission after evading questioning for weeks, claiming ill health.

Sitting in the dock, Novanto refused to answer questions on his identity by the chief judge.

He then told the panel of five judges that he was ill with diarrhoea.

The trial was adjourned pending a medical examination.

Novanto had ignored summons by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and evaded an attempt to arrest him in November by disappearing for a day, before being taken to hospital for injuries apparently sustained in a car crash.

Investigators picked him up at the hospital after doctors certified that he was fit for questioning.

The KPK has accused Novanto of corruption in a 440-million-dollar project by the previous government to issue electronic ID cards.

KPK said losses to the state as a result of corruption in the ID card project are estimated at172 million dollars.

Novanto, also the chairman of the Golkar Party and an ally of President Joko Widodo, has denied any wrongdoing.

Two officials at the Home Affairs Ministry have been sentenced to seven and five years in prison in the case, while a businessman is also on trial.

No fewer than 30 members of parliament from the 2004 to 2009 period as well as a former home affairs minister have been implicated in the case.

A wealthy businessman himself, Novanto met U.S. President Donald Trump in September 2015, while the latter was campaigning for the presidency, to discuss investment in Indonesia.



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