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Indonesia's garlic prices have much to do with one man's greed, it is alleged.

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Editorial Staff

A report in an Indonesian newspaper, tempo.co, says that a national politician has been arrested by the The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for alleged involvement in a corruption scheme that saw him net a big lump sum plus something similar to a royalty on every kilo of garlic imported into the country.

One might shake one's head in amazement, except that no one should be too amazed.

Nyoman Dhamantra, a member of the House of Representatives, has been paraded before the media in orange and restraints. Some five other suspects are in custody or due for arrest. According to the report "The anti-graft body has also named 5 people suspects. Two of them are Dhamantra’s aide Mirawati Basri and a businessperson Elviyanto as the bribe recipient, besides Dhamantra. The other three suspected as the briber are businessmen, namely Chandry Suanda a.k.a. Afung, Doddy Wahyudi, and Zulfikar. "

It is alleged that "Dhamantra is suspected to have received Rp3.6 billion and a compensation fee of Rp1,700-Rp1,800 for each kilogram of imported garlic through Mirawati to manage the import permit for a Chandry’s company PT CSA. "

Putting that into perspective: IDR1800 means GBP1 / 10KG. The average weight of a bulb, the internet tells us, is about 50 grammes i.e. 20 bulbs per kilo. At Tesco in the UK, a whole bulb costs 16p. His alleged take is the equivalent of about 5p per bulb.

With prices reportedly reaching IDR100,000/kilo during this year's Ramadan, it's no wonder so many Indonesians are poor.

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