After hearing prosecutors demand that he be sentenced to three years in jail for corruption on Tuesday, former Social Affairs Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah dismissed the case against him as politically motivated.
Prosecutors told the Anti-Corruption Court in Jakarta that the defendant had been proven guilty of graft in the procurement of sewing machines, cattle and sarongs that were supposed to be distributed to the victims of natural disasters by his ministry between 2004 and 2008.
Prosecutor Eli Kusumastuti also recommended a fine of Rp 100 million ($11,000), or an additional three months in jail.
Bachtiar said after the hearing that Amrun Daulay, the director general of social security assistance at the ministry at the time of the alleged corruption, was responsible for the procurements but had escaped prosecution because he was a member of the ruling Democratic Party.
“The proposal letter for the direct appointment [of suppliers for the procurements] came from him,” Bachtiar said of Amrun.
The charges against Bachtiar, a former chairman of the advisory board of the United Development Party (PPP), carry a maximum punishment of life in prison.
In addition to Bachtiar, several businesspeople who were appointed as the ministry’s partners for the procurements have also been named suspects.
They include Musfar Azis, the owner of Ladang Sutera Indonesia, and Cep Ruhyat, a former director of Dinar Semestal.
Bachtiar is accused of bypassing the tender process by directly appointing Ladang Sutera to supply 6,000 sewing machines and Dinar Semestal to supply sarongs earmarked for victims of natural disasters.
He faces the same charge over a third project, involving the procurement of cows from Australia in 2004 through Atmadhira Karya, a company owned by the son of veteran lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution, who has since died.
Prosecutors from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) indicted the former minister in November last year under the Anti-Corruption Law
Total losses to the state as a result of the three cases are put at Rp 36.6 billion.