A kickback scandal ensnares the speaker of Indonesia’s parliament

Nov 23, 2017

Incapacitated by a fender-bender

IT WAS a sight many Indonesians thought they would never see. On November 19th the speaker of parliament, Setya Novanto, was taken into custody after being wheeled out of a Jakarta hospital wearing the bright orange vest of a suspected criminal. He is accused by the anti-corruption commission, the KPK, of playing a pivotal part in a huge kickback scheme—the biggest scandal it has ever investigated.

Mr Setya, who is also the leader of Golkar, the second-biggest party in parliament, denies wrongdoing. But he has been dodging the KPK’s investigators for months. Most recently, while supposedly on the way to present himself for questioning, he suddenly changed course and rushed to hospital instead, after a minor traffic accident. Police ruled that the accident was genuine, but the sturdy four-wheel-drive vehicle in which Mr Setya was travelling was barely dented. It was the second time he had been admitted to hospital—where the KPK is...

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