Jakarta: Indonesia’s constitutional court chief judge – the equivalent of Australia’s High Court chief justice – has been arrested for alleged corruption.

The judge, Akil Mochtar, who was only appointed to his post earlier this year, was allegedly caught red-handed on Wednesday night having accepted a bribe worth about 3 billion rupiah ($A300,000) from a politician.

Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency KPK swept in about 10pm local time and made the arrest directly after Mr Akil accepted the cash payment at his official residence in Jakarta’s silver circle Widya Chandra district, home to senior politicians and officials.

Mr Akil was among five people arrested in a sting operation in two different locations.

The bribe is alleged to have come from a member of parliament representing the Golkar party. Golkar was the vehicle of former long-time dictator Suharto, and is now a member of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s governing coalition.

Details were scarce on Thursday morning, but the bribe appears to relate to a case involving a local election in central Borneo. It was paid in Singapore dollars.

Corruption is rampant throughout the politics and public service in Indonesia, where several members of Dr Yudhoyono’s 2009 inner circle are now in prison or under investigation, including former sports minister Andi Mallarangeng, former parliamentarian Angie Sondakh and former party chairman Anas Urbaningrum.

Much of the high level corruption appears to be geared towards raising money for Indonesia’s political parties to spend on multiple and increasingly expensive election campaigns.

However, lower-level corruption infests all Indonesian public service departments, often requiring local people to pay kickbacks for basic services such as health and education.

Most civil servants have paid for their position, on the expectation that they can make good money from kickbacks.

source: http://www.smh.com.au