On Wednesday, November 8, the former minister of communications in Indonesia was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of corruption in a case that resulted in losses to the nation exceeding $500 million.
Johnny Gerard Plate was found guilty by Indonesia’s anti-corruption court of using his position to benefit himself from a telecommunications project. Additionally, he was fined one billion rupiah, (USD 63,900). The verdict declared Johnny “convincingly guilty of corruption”. Further, the court ordered that he either pay 15.5 billion rupiah in restitution or risk having his assets seized.
Plate was arrested in May due to his participation in a Ministry of Communication-led base transceiver station (BTS) project that sought to bring 4G internet access to remote parts of the archipelago.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, the project’s malfeasance cost 8.03 trillion rupiah (US$540 million) in total losses.
The AGO said it had uncovered “irregularities” in awarding contracts to local and foreign firms. It named five additional suspects, including a top executive from a subsidiary of China’s telecommunications giant Huawei.
In recent years, numerous high-level officials have been arrested for corruption in Indonesia. In 2021, an ex-social affairs minister was sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of accepting bribes in connection with food aid for impoverished families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.