Indonesia's Parliament speaker named corruption suspect

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FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 7, 2015 file photo, Indonesian House Speaker Setya Novanto, center, leaves after attending the Parliament's Ethics Council hearing in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia's anti-graft agency has named Novanto as a suspect in a corruption scandal in which officials allegedly pocketed more than $170 million in government money. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File)

JAKARTA — Indonesia's anti-graft agency announced yesterday that the speaker of Parliament is a suspect in a corruption scandal in which officials allegedly pocketed more than $170 million in government money.

The chief of the Corruption Eradication Commission, Agus Rahardjo, said there is sufficient evidence to name Speaker Setya Novanto a suspect in the case.

Anti-corruption police allege that a network of about 80 people, mostly legislators, and several companies used the introduction of a $440 million electronic identity card system in 2011 and 2012 to steal more than a third of the allotted funds.

Novanto, of the Golkar Party, is the fifth suspect announced in the case, which could turn into a test of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's willingness to take a hard line against corruption since many of the suspects are from parties in the ruling coalition, like Golkar.

Rahardjo said Novanto is "suspected of enriching himself or other people by abusing his power" and played a key role in planning the swindle.

Among those named in an indictment presented at the trial of two Ministry of Home Affairs officials in March are the justice minister, a former interior minister and two provincial governors.

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