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Free at Last!

Former Top Bali Tourism Official, Gede Nurjaya, Exonerated on Corruption Charges by Denpasar High Court.

(7/29/2011) An appeal against a corruption conviction by I Gede Nurjaya, Bali’s former head of the provincial tourism authority (Kadiparda), to the Denpasar High Court has been successful, resulting in exoneration and a complete acquittal.

Nurjaya, who was arrested in October 2010 for mishandling tourism promotional funds in connection with a London Trade Fair, was sentenced to one year in prison on May 12, 2011. The court also handed Nurjaya a Rp. 50 million (US$5,700) fine and ordered him to pay Rp. 48,870,852 (US$5,555) in compensation to the government.

The Bali Post reported that in ruling on the appeal filed by Nurjaya, the Denpasar High Court overturned the earlier prison sentence, fine and compensation order. The appeal court declared that the lower court had failed to finally and convincingly prove that Nurjaya had committed the corruption with which he was originally charged.

The appeal court ordered that all rights, privileges and positions enjoyed by Nurjaya prior to his incarceration and conviction be restored and that he be immediately released from prison.

Nurjaya has been jailed since October 2010 – a total of nearly  9 months time.

Nurjaya’s judicial woes may not, however, be at an end. The Public Prosecutors have indicated that they will seek to appeal the acquittal to the Supreme Court, attempting to reinstate and potentially enhance Nurjaya's sentence. Prosecutors had originally sought four years imprisonment for Nurjaya.

Another officials of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, Gusti Putu Putra Ambara, was also sentenced last May to one year in prison in the same case. Ambara, however,  abandoned his right to appeal the original punishment of the court, choosing, instead, to serve his sentence, pay the ordered fine and make good the compensation due the State.