Markus Junianto Sihaloho
The House of Representatives has asked the nation’s anticorruption agency to pursue matters raised in a damning report that drew from the findings of the nation’s top audit body.
The legislature on Tuesday formally accepted a report by the State Finance and Accountability Body (BAKN) that investigated Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) findings and concurred that the incidents involved had cost the state at least Rp 1 trillion ($105 million).
The BPK found that poor tax compliance had potentially cost the state Rp 368.7 billion. In addition, BAKN member Sumaryati Arjoso said the state had lost about Rp 309 billion from misappropriation at 16 state universities and Rp 468.98 billion from problems with a bird flu vaccine plant project.
Sumaryati said the losses through poor tax compliance were a result of the treasurers of ministries and government institutions at all levels of government making mistakes in imposing and collecting taxes.
“The mistakes came in assessing the types of taxes, the tax rates and the basis for imposing the tax,” Sumaryati said at the House’s plenary meeting.
In the bird flu vaccine plant, BAKN said the BPK had found indications of state losses and criminal activity.
“That’s why BAKN is recommending that the cases be handled by the Corruption Eradication Commission immediately,” Sumaryati said.
All factions that attended the plenary meeting accepted the recommendations.
House Commission IX, which oversees financial affairs, ordered construction of the bird flu vaccine plant to be halted after BAKN visited the West Java site.
BAKN made the trip after the Health Ministry recommended that the project continue.
BAKN member Teguh Juwarno said the group found that most of the equipment provided for the construction project arrived late and was not used.
The accountability body also found that the construction was only 70 percent completed, while the State Finance Development Comptroller (BPKP) claimed it was 90 percent finished.
“When we confronted the BPKP, they admitted that they didn’t audit the project,” Teguh said.
Therefore, BAKN found no reason for the Health Ministry to continue the project, and Commission IX eventually asked for it to be put on hold, Teguh said.
A BPK audit on the project found that the law had been broken during its implementation, causing the state to incur hundreds of billions of rupiah in losses. BPK said that several parties were involved in the violation, including the Finance Ministry, Health Ministry, National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), state-controlled company Bio Farma and companies owned by former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin.
Last week, a leading budget activist group put the price tag for the universities’ wrongdoing even higher, claiming at least Rp 1.3 trillion in possible losses. The group warned that the total amount the state lost through the education sector was even more. “State universities have to be accountable for every rupiah of funding that they receive, because that’s the people’s money and it must be used in the interests of the people,” said Maulana, research director at the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra).
Corruption has been cited by international bodies as a curb on Indonesia’s economic development.