Indonesian court jails ex-judge for eight years in graft case

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A former Indonesian Constitutional Court judge was jailed for eight years on Monday for accepting bribes to influence court rulings, the state news agency Antara reported.

Patrialis Akbar, the second constitutional court judge to be convicted of corruption in three years, was also fined 300 million rupiah ($22,500). Akbar was accused of accepting $10,000 in bribes and causing losses to the state.

He denied wrongdoing but a lawyer representing him said he was not sure if Akbar would appeal against the sentence.

“The state did not suffer losses in this case,” said the lawyer, Indra Sahnun Lubis, adding that the legal team would decide in a few days whether or not to appeal.

Corruption in widespread in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and the judiciary is consistently perceived by the public to be among its most corrupt institutions, according to Transparency International.

The Constitutional Court, once regarded as a model of integrity, has been rocked by bribery scandals in recent years.

Its former chief justice was in 2014 jailed for life for accepting bribes and money laundering in connection with an election dispute. It was the heaviest sentence ever handed out for graft in Indonesia.

The Constitutional Court hears cases regarding election disputes and challenges to laws.

Reporting by Jessica Damiana; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor