Indonesia: Ex-Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Receives Heavier Sentences Over Baby Lobsters Case

Instead of the previous 5 years of imprisonment, DKI Jakarta High Court increases the ex-minister sentence to 9 years over bribery related to lobster.

The Jakarta High Court has increased the sentence of former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, with the initials EP, from 5 years to 9 years in prison. The reason is that EP's actions, namely corruption, have shaken the foundation of the state sovereignty.

As is previously known, the Indonesian anti-corruption commission, the KPK, conducted an arrest operation against EP after returning from the United States on 25 November, 2020. EP received bribes related to the export permits of lobster seeds (baby lobsters). 

"The defendant is sentenced to 9 years in prison and a fine of Rp400 million with the condition that if the fine is not paid, it is replaced with imprisonment for 6 months," said the decision of DKI Jakarta High Court, as quoted from Liputan6, Thursday (11/11/2011). 2021).

Baby lobsters. (Photo: Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries)
Baby lobsters. (Photo: Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries)

In addition, EP is also required to return the money he corrupted, namely Rp9.6 billion and USD 77 thousand. The money must be paid by EP within one month after the court's decision has permanent legal force. If not paid, EP\s property will be confiscated and auctioned by the prosecutors to cover the lack of money. If the property is not enough, it will be replaced with imprisonment for 3 years.

In addition, the judge of DKI Jakarta High Court also imposed an additional penalty in the form of revocation of the right to be elected in public office for three years after EP finished serving his main sentence.

The reason for increasing EP's sentence is because his previous sentence of 5 years in prison does not reflect the public's sense of justice which should be handled extra and extraordinary. Moreover, EP, who wa a Minister in charge of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, had easily ordered his subordinates to do things that are deviant and dishonest.

"The defendant has damaged the work order that has existed, is in effect, and is well maintained. The defendant has violated the rules/procedural arrangements that exist in his own Ministry," said the assembly consisting of M Lutfi, Singgih Budi Prakoso, Reny Halida Ilham Malik and Anthon Saragih, as quoted from Detik.

The Assembly also argued that the crime of corruption was classified as an Extraordinary Crime. As a consequence, Indonesia ratified the anti-corruption convention with Law Number 7 of 2006.

"This means that corruption is not only fought and becomes the enemy of the Indonesian nation but is also the enemy of all mankind," explained the assembly.

In addition, corruption is not only detrimental to the country's finances and economy. But it can undermine the foundations of state sovereignty.

"Because as a Minister who is an assistant to the President, he should understand the provisions of Article 33 paragraph (3) of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia which states 'Earth, water and natural resources contained therein are controlled by the State and used for the greatest prosperity of the people', natural resources cannot easily be exploited for the benefit of certain people," the assembly said.