Tempo: All West Papua Province’s Lawmakers Declared as Corruption Suspect

FYI

(West Papua Media comment:  these actions should be seen as an indictment of Jakarta’s failed Special Autonomy policies.  The DPRD office holders are restricted to those who are  members of Indonesia-wide political parties, and are heavily skewed toward military business interests.  A high proportion of members of the DPRP are not ethnically Papuan, and those who are, are involved in major Indonesian business ventures)

also: Big Budget, Big Leaks

Tempo Magazine
No. 50/XI/August 10-16, 2011

Law

All Suspects Together

All members of the West Papua DPRD were named as suspects in
corruption of the province’s funding. The state funds that should have
been used as capital for one of the province’s own businesses was
instead distributed to serve political interests. Governance in West
Papua is now threatened with coming to a complete standstill.

A Plenary session of the West Papua Provincial House of
Representatives (DPRD) was suddenly called for Thursday two weeks ago.
Although all the members were not present, the sitting was marked by a
tense atmosphere. Not surprisingly, as the theme of the discussion was
a very serious matter concerning the future fates of all those
attending.

The Papua State Prosecutor’s Office had named 44 members of the
parliament as suspects over corruption of Rp22 billion of West Papua
Provincial Income and Expenditure Budgets (APBD) for 2010 and 2011.
The announcement made by Deputy Chief State Prosecutor Suhardjo Tjatjo
rocked Papua. In the history of this nation, this is the first time
ever all the members of a parliament have been named graft suspects.

Not just the public, but the West Papua DPRD members themselves
admitted they were shaken when the release first appeared two weeks
ago. “I have never been questioned, so how come I am suddenly declared
a suspect?” said DPRD Speaker Johan Yoseph Auri. The Golkar Party
politician accused the investigation of the case of being loaded with
political interests. “I’m sure the prosecutor doesn’t have any strong
evidence in this corruption case,” he asserted boldly.

Johan admits he did accept the cash concerned. As did all his
parliamentary colleagues. But, he said: “It was a loan that was to be
repaid in three years.” Johan says he borrowed the cash from the
province-owned PT Papua Doberai Mandiri because he was under pressure
to meet his constituents’ requests.

Every day, he said, groups come to DPRD members’ offices claiming to
be constituents from various parts of Papua. They come asking for
donations for this and that and to lodge proposals for all kinds of
activities. “I have no other income, so I’m forced to look for loans,”
Johan explained.

Disastrously, those loans were not obtained from a bank, but rather
from a state-owned business that was not supposed to be involved in
borrowing and lending its shareholders cash. PT Doberai, for instance,
is a company set up by the West Papua government to look after
investment in this, Indonesia’s youngest province.

It was difficult to get other DPRD members to explain to us why they
now have the status of suspects. The plenary session, said John
Fathie—another Golkar politician—had decided that all its members were
forbidden to talk to the media. Explanations were only to be offered
by the DPRD speaker. Several members denied they had received any
money. “I already owe my bank money, so it would be impossible for me
to look for another loan,” declared PNI Marhaenisme politician Yance
Yomaki.

The difficulty is that the Papua Attorney General’s Office is fully
convinced that these people’s representatives have already done as
they liked by ‘feasting’ on the state funds to which they had no
right. Deputy Head of the State Prosecutor’s Office (AGO), Suhardjo
Tjatjo laid out to Tempo just how this case had begun, from its
investigation through to the conclusions reached and all the suspects
being determined.

Tjatjo said this was an old case whose status could only recently be
raised to that of an investigation once the AGO was convinced that
none of the money that had been claimed to be loans had been returned.
“There was no accountability for this expenditure,” he added.

Now, it so happened that Rp22 billion was cleared to be paid out at
the request of West Papua Provincial Secretary, Marthen Luther
Rumadas. Rp15 billion of that came from the 2010 APBD and the rest
from the 2011 one. “The business is under my authority,” he said
defensively.

The funds ought to have been allocated as additional capital for PT
Papua Doberai Mandiri. This provincial government-owned company is
active in very wide-ranging fields: drilling for oil and gas, non-oil
and gas exploration, as well as the acceleration of infrastructure
development, including netting new investors, both domestic and
foreign.

PT Doberai was set up around the same time as the formation of the new
province in 2009. West Irian Jaya regency was then elevated to the
status of West Papua province, with Manokwari as its capital. At its
establishment on 18 May 2009, the provincial government, that had
obtained an injection of special autonomy funds of Rp1.7 trillion,
invested Rp100 billion to buy shares in the new company.

A year later, all the shares in the province-owned business were taken
over by the West Papua government, until full control of it rested in
the hands of the provincial secretary. While that was happening, the
province treasury injected a further Rp25 billion in capital into it.
“That was when the games began,” said Tjatjo.

As the one having control of the business, Rumadas has also become a
suspect. He is accused of handing out state funds to DPRD members on
very spurious grounds: to cover their additional living expenses.

Rumadas was discovered to have issued a letter on 17 September 2010
concerning lending PT Doberai another Rp15 billion. Johan Auri gave
his written agreement to lending out this money to DPRD members.

The problem was that his letter was issued several hours after the
money had been transferred. “This meant that the money that had been
deposited then had to be hurriedly paid out,” said Tjatjo. The AGO
looked into this odd occurrence. It was also revealed that PT Papua
Doberai Mandiri’s CEO Mamad Suhadi at one point apparently refused
Rumadas’s request to pay out the money that had just been transferred.

When Rumadas had summoned him to his office, Mamad verbally declined
to comply. “Sorry, Sir, making such payouts would be a mistake,” said
Mamad, as imitated by Tjatjo. When Mamad refused to follow Rumadas’s
instruction, the Head of the West Papua Province Financial Bureau M.
Sirait was sitting next to Rumadas and later confirmed Mamad’s
statement to the prosecutor.

Rumadas paid no attention to Mamad’s objections. The money was still
paid out. Several weeks later another instruction was issued to
disburse a further Rp7 billion. The grounds were the same: loans to
the DPRD members. The AGO considered this corruption because the
members could not possibly pay back their loans in the set time,
namely July this year.

Rumadas does not reject the series of events, the results of the
prosecutors’ investigation. But he rejects claims that the loans were
deliberately given out to enrich DPRD members. Because of the loan
clause, Rumadas says, the DPRD members were required to return the
money they had borrowed.

Strangely, when he was pressed to explain why the loan money had been
taken from the company’s coffers and whether he knew what the loans
were for, Rumadas shook his head. “I didn’t know what they wanted the
loans for,” he admitted.

Tjatjo also admitted that the DPRD members were not told they had been
made suspects as the request for permission to question them submitted
to the Minister of Home Affairs had not yet had a response. Under
criminal procedure law, Tjatjo explained, if permission is not
forthcoming by one month after a request letter is sent, his office
may then continue its investigation and use compulsion to summon
suspects.

Last Friday, when we asked Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi for
confirmation of the request letter, he said he had not yet received
it. “Once I have received the request, I’ll certainly agree to it.
It’s just to uphold the law,” Gamawan told Tempo.

However, Gamawan does hope the AGO doesn’t have clear proof that the
DPRD members were involved in corruption, so the case won’t need to be
pursued further. He added that governance of West Papua could come to
a standstill if all the members of its parliament were detained.
“There is still an opportunity not to take this further,” he said.

Tjatjo realizes the consequences if the legal process continues.
Governance in West Papua could stall and many policies could not get
implemented, as all DPRD members would likely be non-active. The
current total confusion could get even worse, remembering that West
Papua is also due to hold the direct election of its governor in
September of this year.

But, Tjatjo added, the AGO has no other choice as, whatever else
happens, the law must be enforced. Especially as the evidence in this
case is so glaringly obvious. “If necessary, I will summon them using
compulsion,” he warned.

Bagja Hidayat (Jakarta), Jerry Omona (Jayapura)

——————

Tempo Magazine
No. 50/XI/August 10-16, 2011

Law

Big Budget, Big Leaks

The riots that recently spread in Papua have caused the government to
reevaluate the special autonomy status for the area. Last Thursday
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono discussed the issue when he met the
heads of the nations’s top institutions at the State Palace.

“Special autonomy is not just a matter of budget, but also concerns
policy,” commented Regional Representatives Assembly Speaker Irman
Gusman after the meeting. Irman said special autonomy that is focused
only on meeting its budget has been shown to be ineffective. An audit
by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) did indeed confirm what Irman said.

In its report last April, the BPK uncovered suspected budget misuse
throughout the period 2002-2010 of special autonomy in Papua. Of the
total Rp19 trillion of special autonomy funding for improvement of
infrastructure and health services, Rp4.2 trillion had been likely
misused.

Not all the autonomy funding since 2002 was examined. Because the
total general autonomy funding for Papua and West Papua provinces
already disbursed by 2010 amounted to Rp28.8 trillion.

The misuse in the sample checked covered various things: expenditure
that could not be accounted for, expenditure not in accordance with
submitted programs, overpayments, and fictive programs. The report
says, for instance, that Rp1.85 trillion of autonomy funding for the
period 2008-2010 was put on term deposit in Bank Mandiri Jayapura and
Bank Papua.

The Rp53 billion in interest from this was then not credited to the
account of the special autonomy fund. The Papua provincial government
has explained that the money stashed away as term deposits did not
come from the special autonomy fund. It was reserve funds, the
interest on which was then used to subsidize village development at
Rp100 million per village.

The BPK does not accept that. “Because special autonomy funding is
intended to accelerate development, cash management via term deposits
is then inappropriate,” reads the report that BPK member Rizal Djalil
presented to parliament.

That report concludes that leaks have clearly occurred in the absence
of any clear regulations on the use and accountability for the
jumbo-sized cash largesse. When reporting these findings, Rizal said
that to date the use of the autonomy funds only needed verbal
agreement between the governor plus a regent and a mayor within Papua.
It it is not surprising then that the BPK later uncovered fictive
expenditure. “I’m sure, from our sample investigation, the nation has
suffered a loss of Rp319 billion,” said Rizal.

Under Papua’s Special Autonomy Law, a budget of 2 percent of the
National General Allocation Fund is to be disbursed for improvement of
infrastructure and health services there, so that, in 25 years’
time—beginning from 2002—there will no longer be any transportation
problems in the area. Everything will be connected by land, sea, or
air.

But the reality is very different. The funds seem to vanish and not
make their way down—let alone get disbursed—to those at the bottom.
Corruption has spread into a number of areas. The money that ought to
be used to build facilities is instead grabbed everywhere, as with the
money of provincial government-owned businesses corruptly taken by
members of the West Papua provincial parliament.

Almost every year, for instance, hospital staff in Jayapura or Abepura
go on strike over their miniscule allowances. In turn, other hospitals
are forced to turn away patients because of lack of medicines to treat
them.

Irman says the current chaos in the management of autonomy funds is a
result of weak control and supervision. Accordingly, it will later
become not just a matter of being unclear where the money went, as the
area concerned will then become continually afflicted by chaos. “Later
the autonomy funding must no longer be dropped there just like that.
The programs for its use must be clear and supervision tight,” Irman
stressed.

BHD, Munawwaroh

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