World

Indonesia's Speaker winds up in hospital, ending manhunt


The Indonesian anti-corruption agency's hunt for elusive politician Setya Novanto came to an end yesterday when the Speaker of Parliament wound up in hospital after allegedly crashing his car into an electricity pole in south Jakarta.

Novanto's lawyer Frederich Yunadi said his client had an accident while he was making his way in his Toyota Fortuner SUV to the agency's offices to be interrogated.

"He is under the doctors' and nurses' treatment now. His head bleeds and is bandaged," Mr Frederich told MetroTV.

Despite knowing his location, the country's graft-busting body, known as KPK, is no closer to questioning Novanto as it is prevented by law from detaining anyone who is ill or under medical treatment.

Novanto is a suspect in a major scandal unearthed in 2014 involving US$170 million (S$230 million) of stolen state funds.

Investigators have alleged that Novanto was among dozens of politicians who received kickbacks from funds earmarked for a 2009 government project to issue new identification cards, called e-KTP, to all citizens aged 17 or above.

KPK had failed to locate Novanto after a surprise raid on his home late on Wednesday.

The agency searched the house for five hours and confiscated a suitcase of documents and footage from the house's closed-circuit television system.

Mr Fredrich had said his client, who is chairman of Indonesia's second-biggest political party Golkar, is in Jakarta and is not trying to avoid the law.

Novanto has previously ignored KPK's multiple summons to be questioned, opting instead to chair meetings in Parliament and attend various Golkar party events.

indonesiacorruptionaccident