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 Tuesday, 24 December, 2002, 10:15 GMT
Indonesia ex-minister guilty of corruption
Rahardi Ramelan in court in Jakarta on Tuesday
Rahardi Ramelan has seven days to appeal

A former Indonesian cabinet minister has been found guilty of corruption in connection with a scandal over the misuse of state funds and sentenced to two years in prison.

As trade minister in the government of former president BJ Habibie, Rahardi Ramelan was in charge of the state food agency, Bulog.

Tommy Suharto, son of the former president
Some funds may have gone to Tommy Suharto
Bulog was originally set up as a fund to ensure that food supplies and food prices remained stable in Indonesia, but the agency has become a byword for corruption.

Rahardi Ramelan has been found guilty on two charges of corruption relating to a scandal three years ago, in which millions of dollars went missing.

Misspent funds

In the first case, Mr Ramelan was accused of authorising the use of $40,000 to pay for media coverage of parliamentary business.

In the second, he was accused of approving a loan of $460,000 from Bulog to a company owned by Tommy Suharto, son of the former president.

Akbar Tanjung
Akbar Tandjung is appealing against his conviction
Rahardi Ramelan is the second high-profile figure to be found guilty in connection with the scandal.

In September the Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, Akbar Tandjung, was sentenced to three years in prison for misusing state funds.

Pending an appeal, he remains free and still in his job.

Mr Ramelan, who has been ordered to pay back $40,000 of the missing money, now has seven days to launch his own appeal.

See also:

04 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
26 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
05 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
24 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
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