In China Dialogue on 12th July, an article said that Indonesia’s anti-corruption watchdog has accused the head of the state-owned electricity distribution monopoly – Sofyan Basir, the suspended chief executive of electricity provider PLN (Perusahaan Listrik Negara) – of facilitating bribery, linking him to a case that has led to the arrest of 9 people, including the former social affairs minister and another member of parliament. The article says that environmentalists and anti-graft campaigners now want the watchdog to dig deeper into the role of China Huadian Engineering Co Ltd, which is a project partner in a $900 million power plant on Sumatra, and hope the high-profile case will stem the expansion of coal-fired power. Coal is a key driver of the Indonesian economy, as the archipelago has one of the world’s largest coal reserves and China is the biggest market for Indonesian coal. However, the environmental cost is high, and the article refers to a link between dirty energy and dirty politics, and that the rapid expansion of coal-powered power generation is a recipe for corruption.
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