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Indonesia president names new communications minister after graft scandal

Indonesia President Joko Widodo announced a minor cabinet reshuffle of six positions on Monday, including a new communications minister whose predecessor is on trial accused of accepting $1.14 million in illegal kickbacks.

Budi Arie Setiadi, a deputy minister for villages, replaces Johnny G. Plate, who was arrested in May of taking payments from companies linked to a programme to build telecommunications towers and bring internet to thousands of villages.

Johnny, who denies wrongdoing, faces life imprisonment if found guilty of corruption in a project that saw an estimated 8 trillion rupiah ($534.94 million) of state losses.

He was the fifth minister in the president’s two administrations to be charged with corruption.

The new communications minister, Budi, founded a volunteer group that assisted in the 2014 election campaign of Jokowi, as the president is known.

Jokowi on Monday announced new deputy ministers for foreign affairs, village affairs, religious affairs, communications and state-owned enterprises. He also appointed two new members to his special advisory board.

Jokowi told reporters after their swearing-in ceremony that Budi would be tasked with looking into artificial intelligence and data protection, adding the corruption case would be resolved and completion of the telecommunications towers project must be prioritised. Reuters

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