Ezra Sihite & Rizki Amelia
Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng said on Tuesday that an additional Rp 300 billion ($31.8 million) was needed for this year’s National Games as antigraft investigators probed how the original budget ballooned and was reportedly embezzled by local officials.
Andi said Riau Governor Rusli Zainal had requested additional funds for the national sporting event known as the PON, saying “some venues are not completed yet. The ministry is only in charge of budgeting.”
Riau, where this year’s event will be held from Sept. 9 to 20, reportedly needs an additional Rp 300 billion, making the total budget for the Games three times more expensive than the original Rp 150 billion.
“Right now we are still waiting for the funds. They have not been disbursed,” the governor said.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested three members of the Riau Legislative Council in April.
The legislators are said to have received Rp 900 million in exchange for passing provincial legislation calling for more funding from the central government to construct facilities for the Games.
Also named suspects were two officials from the Riau sports agency and an employee of state contractor Pembangunan Perumahan, one of three contractors awarded with the project.
At the ongoing trials of two Riau officials, revelations have emerged that an additional injection of Rp 100 billion in funding was approved by the central government after a Rp 9 billion kickback was paid to the House of Representatives.
The injection was also made after a meeting on April 3, which was attended by Rusli, Andi Mallarangeng and Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono.
Agung admitted last week that he had met with Rusli about the National Games budget.
However, he denied discussing any additional allocations for it.
The KPK has requested a travel ban on Rusli and so far has named six suspects in the case.