Indonesia's oil minister named corruption suspect

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's anti-graft commission said Wednesday it is investigating the country's minister of energy and mines for alleged corruption.

Bambang Widjojanto, deputy chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission, said Jero Wacik illegally acquired 9.9 billion rupiah ($840,000) from 2011 to 2013.

He said Wacik extorted money from mining companies, claimed expenses from fake meetings and manipulated the ministry's budget.

Wacik, a senior ruling party official who previously was minister of tourism, faces a maximum 20-year prison term if found guilty.

Widjojanto said the commission will ask immigration officials to prevent Wacik from leaving the country.

Wacik is the third Cabinet minister in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's government to be named a corruption suspect.

In July, the anti-graft court sentenced a former sports minister to four years in prison for corruption related to the construction of a sports complex.

In May, the anti-graft agency accused the minister of religious affairs of mismanaging expenses for the hajj pilgrimage.

Endemic graft in Indonesia has been blamed for deterring foreign investment. Transparency International regularly lists the country among the most corrupt nations.