Indonesia’s former fisheries minister sentenced to nine years in prison

Published on
November 16, 2021
Former Indonesian Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo was sentenced to nine years in prison for his roll in the illegal issuance of lobster seed export permits.

The Supreme Court of Indonesia has increased the jail sentence of former fisheries minister Edhy Prabowo to nine years from five years, in the first verdict for his illegal involvement in issuance of lobster seed exports, Indonesian publication Tempo reported.

Prabowo was charged for receiving money from a number of companies in exchange for lobster larvae export permits. He and other officials were detained at Indonesia’s Soekarno-Hatta airport on 25 November, 2020, as they were returning from a trip to the United States.

In July this year, the Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced Prabowo to five years in prison, in addition to being fined IDR 400 million (USD 28,000, EUR 24,400). The former minister was charged with taking bribes of USD 77,000 (EUR 67,100) from PT Dua Putra Perkasa Director Suharjito via the former minister’s special staff, Safri, and his personal secretary, Amiril Mukmin. He was also accused of accepting IDR 24.6 billion (USD 1.7 million, EUR 1.4 million) via his special staff, Andreau Misanta Pribadi.

Prabowo was required to pay compensation of USD 77,000 (EUR 67,100) and IDR 9.8 billion (USD 686,300, EUR 598,600), and was banned from election to any public office for three years after finishing his criminal sentence.

The Supreme Court increased the sentence after ruling the initial verdict failed to bring about justice for the public, saying the former minister’s illegal actions need to be treated as an extraordinary crime.

“The imposition of the main criminal offense on the defendant does not reflect the sense of community justice that should have been handled extraordinarily,” the court said on 11 November. “Moreso, the defendant who was a minister who led the Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Ministry, easily ordered his men to commit misconduct.” 

Current Indonesian Fisheries Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono was appointed in December 2020, replacing interim minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, who took over following Prabowo’s arrest. Wahyu  has reimposed a ban on lobster larvae exports, undoing a decision by Prabowo in May 2020 to implement a controversial rule allowing the resumption of lobster seed exports. That decision itself reversed a 2016 ban imposed by Prabowo's predecessor, Susi Pudjiastuti. Less than two months after the decision, Prabowo's awarded export licenses to 31 companies out of the 100 that were seeking permits.

In early 2020, an investigation was initiated into possible ties between Prabowo and several local exporters of lobster larvae, finding that owners and senior officials of many of those companies are members of the Great Indonesia Movement Party, or the Gerindra – where Prabowo was and remains a senior member.  

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Contributing Editor reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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