Indonesia Energy Minister Wacik Named Suspect in Extortion Case

Indonesian Energy Minister Jero Wacik has been named as a suspect in a graft case by the country’s corruption watchdog.

Wacik, a member of outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democrat party, allegedly extorted as much as 9.9 billion rupiah ($840,700) in 2011 and 2012, Bambang Widjojanto, one of the chairmen at the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, said at a briefing in Jakarta today. The KPK will submit a travel ban request for Wacik in the “near future,” he said.

The energy minister is the latest in a series of high-profile figures targeted by the agency. Former Bank Indonesia deputy governor Budi Mulya was sentenced to 10 years in jail in July while Andi Mallarangeng, a former sports minister and a Democrat party member, was convicted the same month of lax supervision that led to graft in his ministry. The former head of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court, Akil Mochtar, received a life sentence for graft and money laundering in June.

“The ministry’s work will go on as usual,” said Saleh Adburrahman, a spokesman at the energy and mineral resources ministry. “We respect what the KPK has said as that is their duty to thoroughly investigate the issue.”

Wacik has served as energy minister since October 2011 and prior to that was minister of culture and tourism from 2004. A call to his office went unanswered.

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