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Indonesia MP jailed for 4 years for graft

world Updated: Jan 28, 2009 21:44 IST

Reuters
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An Indonesian corruption court jailed on Wednesday a legislator from the party founded by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for four and half years over graft related to landuse in a protected forest in Sumatra.

Sarjan Taher, a Democratic Party politician, was found guilty of receiving bribes to encourage other members of parliament to approve a proposal to allow protected land in the Air Talang forest in South Sumatra to be used as a port, said presiding judge Gusrizal.

Taher was a member of a parliament commission handling forest and environment issues.

The judge said Taher had received bribes from a businessman, who planned to build the port, during 2006 to 2007.

"The defendant (Taher) was proven to be guilty of the crime of corruption", Gusrizal told the court.

Taher and one of his lawyers said they would examine the decision before deciding whether to appeal.

Indonesia has consistently been rated as one of the world's most corrupt countries and foreign firms frequently complain that graft deters investment.

Nonetheless, Indonesia also appears to have made progress fighting graft under the administration of Yudhoyono, who will run for a second term in election's this year.

Indonesia's graft agency, known as KPK, has gained something of a cult status in the country, detaining officials from the central bank, the attorney-general's office, parliament, ministries and customs department.

A former central banker who is Yudhoyono's relative by marriage is also due to stand trial in connection with a scandal involving payments to members of parliament.