Civil Society Groups Want Transparency in Jakarta Grant Disbursement

By webadmin on 07:43 pm May 24, 2012
Category Archive

Ronna Nirmala

An anti-corruption watchdog reiterated its demand on Thursday that Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo reveal information about Rp 1.3 trillion ($140.4 million) worth of special grants allocated by the city, alleging that some of the money may have gone improperly toward supporting the governor’s reelection campaign.

City grants for special events had risen sharply this year, but the process for planning and allocating the money was murky and closed, said Apung Widadi, a researcher with Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW).

“There is therefore a strong suspicion that the grants have been misused for Fauzi’s campaign,” Apung said.

ICW and the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), he said, were demanding that the government reveal the recipients of all of the grants and that that information be published on the Jakarta administration’s official Web site for all to see.

They cited Indonesia’s relatively new Freedom of Information Law, which places such data squarely in the public domain.

Fauzi said on Wednesday that the grants had been approved by the Jakarta City Council, but Apung accused the governor of trying to shift blame onto another party.

“It is really disappointing that the government is saying the grant was approved by the city legislative council,” Apung said. “This statement is throwing the responsibility on others and it also reflects the governor’s lack of understanding about regulations on grants as contained in the decree of the Home Affairs Minister number 32 of 2011.”

Apung said the ministerial decree clearly regulated that grants and social assistance be decided by the head of the region in cooperation with the head of the related office after evaluating proposals from the public.

Therefore the governor should be more open about how the grants were disbursed, he said.

“And what is more important is opening the information of the grant agreement between the regional government and the recipient for 2012,” Apung said.

Sukri Bey, chief of the Jakarta Regional Finance Management Body (BPKD), defended Fauzi, attributing the rise in grant disbursements to the city’s having to host several large events and programs in 2012.

The increase, Sukri said, was largely because the city was hosting the country’s National Sports Week and because certain operational funds for public schools were now channelled through city grants.

Last year’s grants amounted to Rp 942 billion, which was not a big difference, he said.

Funding for the gubernatorial election, which only comes along every few years, was also done through grants, he said.