November 4, 2019 / 8:53 AM / 18 days ago

CORRECTED-Former head of Indonesia state power firm cleared in graft case

(Corrects spelling of lawyer in 7th paragraph to Soesilo Aribowo, not Susilo Ariwibowo)

JAKARTA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - A former chief executive of Indonesian state electricity utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) has been cleared in a graft case related to a power plant project, a judge at the country’s corruption court said on Monday.

Prosecutors at Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had accused Sofyan Basir of accepting the “promise of a bribe” related to a construction contract for a power plant in Riau province on the island of Sumatra.

“We hereby declare the defendant not guilty of unlawful acts as per the first and second indictments,” head judge Hariono, who goes by one name, told the Indonesia corruption court.

Basir was named a suspect in April after police raided his residence in mid-2018.

Two other suspects were found guilty after a sting operation in 2018. Prosecutors had also suggested a five-year prison sentence and a 200 million rupiah ($14,000) fine for Basir.

“I’m grateful God gave the best to me today,” Basir told reporters in a broadcast on television.

Soesilo Aribowo, Basir’s lawyer, told Metro TV his client’s role as a facilitator in the case was never proven.

The not-guilty verdict was a rare court defeat for the KPK. Laode M. Syarif, deputy head of the commission, said it was deciding whether to file an appeal.

PLN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case was a continuation of high-profile graft investigations under President Joko Widodo, who has sought to clean up the image of Indonesia’s energy sector after a series of scandals implicating government officials.

$1 = 14,010 rupiah Reporting by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Ed Davies and Tom hogue

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