Corruption hurts Indonesian economy

Indonesia has lost $2.3 billion in two years because of corruption, a government official has said.

    Sukarnoputri has embarked on an anti-corruption drive

    The amount was based on 1198 corruption cases investigated by prosecutors between January 2002 and April 2004, said the spokesman for the attorney general's office Kemas Yahya Rahman on Friday.


    Of the total loss, only $127,660 has so far been recovered, he said. "The amount recovered is small because many cases are still in the appeal process," Rahman said.


    He said more money would be recovered once the cases had been settled but some of it may be gone forever.


    The Berlin-based Transparency International watchdog group has rated Indonesia as one of the world's most graft-prone countries.




    Authorities have in recent months launched a flurry of investigations into corruption across Indonesia.


    Officials deny the move is intended to improve President Megawati Sukarnoputri's image before next month's presidential election. Many electors complain she has done little to combat rampant corruption.


    Last month more than three-quarters of the provincial legislators in West Sumatra were ordered jailed for between two years and 27 months after being convicted of misusing a total of $627,314. They are free pending appeal.


    The attorney general's office said the number of legislators implicated in corruption cases nationwide had increased from 270 in May to 300 in June this year.



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