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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April, 2005, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Aceh governor jailed for graft
Indonesian judges read witness testimonies before reading the verdict to absent defendant Achenese Governor Abdullah Puteh, Monday, April 11. 2005, at an anti-corruption court in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Mr Puteh was not in court when the verdict was announced
The governor of Indonesia's tsunami-hit Aceh province has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for corruption.

Abdullah Puteh was also fined $400,000 for allegedly profiting from the unauthorised purchase of a helicopter in 2001.

Puteh's lawyers say they would appeal against his sentence.

Correspondents say the case is the first major test of Jakarta's new anti-corruption court, which was set up to deal with important graft cases.

A five-judge panel found Puteh guilty of causing the state financial losses by inflating the purchase price of a Russian-made helicopter for personal gain.

"The defendant has been legally and convincingly found guilty of committing corruption," Judge Krisna Menon told the Jakarta court.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) accompanied by Governor of Aceh Abdullah Puteh (left) , Nov 2004.
Mr Puteh's case is a test for Mr Yudhoyono's policies

Puteh had acted "with the aim of benefiting himself, others or a corporation," Mr Menon added.

The jail term was two years harsher than the eight-year period which prosecutors had demanded, although the judges could have sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Puteh, who has always declared his innocence, was not in court to hear the sentence.

Widespread graft

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was elected last October after promising to crack down on corruption, a problem plaguing many levels of Indonesian society.

Puteh was arrested a month after Mr Yudhoyono took office, and his trial has been widely regarded as a test of the new president's commitment to the issue.

Aceh - which as well as being badly hit in December's tsunami also suffers from a long-running separatist conflict - is seen as one of the most corruption-ridden provinces of Indonesia.

Aid agencies have voiced concerns that corrupt officials will siphon off some of the billions of dollars of aid pouring into the province to help in the tsunami reconstruction effort.

Jail demand for Aceh governor
07 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Aceh governor detained over graft
07 Dec 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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