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Regional News

Indonesia parliament speaker taken into custody by anti-graft agency

JAKARTA (Reuters) — Indonesia’s parliament speaker Setya Novanto has been taken into custody by the country’s anti-corruption agency after being arrested over his alleged role in causing state losses of $170 million linked to a national electronic identity card scheme.

Novanto, wearing an orange vest worn by detainees of the Corruption Eradication Commission or KPK, was transferred from a hospital on Sunday night into a KPK detention facility at its headquarters in Jakarta.

Setya NovantoSetya Novanto

He is one of the most senior politicians in Indonesia to be detained by the independent KPK.

The parliament speaker was arrested on Friday night but KPK said it delayed enforcing his detention while he received treatment for injuries sustained in a car crash the day before.

Laode Muhammad Syarif, deputy head of the KPK, said in a video posted on the agency’s official Periscope page that a doctor’s statement showed Novanto no longer needed to be treated in hospital “therefore according to standards and procedure the delay of the arrest is no longer needed.”

In comments made to reporters on Sunday night, Novanto said he was still suffering from vertigo after the crash that he said had caused injuries to his leg, arm and head.

“I did not expect this (to happen) tonight. I thought I would be given time for recovery, but I obey the law,” Novanto was quoted by as saying.

Officers from KPK tried to arrest Novanto, the chairman of Golkar, Indonesia’s second-largest party and partner in the ruling coalition, at his house in Jakarta late on Wednesday.

But the investigators, watched by television cameras, failed to find him, sparking speculation that he had gone into hiding.

Later, Novanto was involved in a car accident and his lawyer, Fredrich Yunadi, said a journalist was driving the vehicle and interviewing his client at the time of the accident.

Novanto has denied wrongdoing but has repeatedly missed summonses from the KPK for questioning in recent months, saying he was ill and needed to undergo heart surgery.