Youth and Sports Ministry in the spotlight for graft, again
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The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) questioned on Monday the secretary for the Youth and Sports Ministry, Yuli Mumpuni Widarso, as a witness in the 2012 National Games (PON) scandal, once again cementing the ministry’s reputation as one of the most graft-ridden government institutions.
Yuli was sworn in last March as secretary, replacing Wafid Muharram who was sentenced to three years in prison for accepting Rp 3.2 billion (US$340,000) to rig bids in favor of PT Duta Graha Indah (DGI), the company that won the Rp 191 billion Southeast Asian (SEA) Games athlete’s village construction contract which was supervised by the ministry.
Recently, the ministry has also been rocked by another graft allegation centering on the Rp 1.52 trillion construction of a sports complex in Hambalang, Bogor, West Java.
On Tuesday, Youth and Sports Affairs Minister Andi Mallarangeng is expected to appear before the House of Representatives Commission X on sports to testify in a House inquiry into the Hambalang scandal.
Yuli said to the KPK investigators on Monday that Andi attended a meeting to discuss the allocation of Rp 900 million in additional funds to finance the PON.
“He joined in one of the meetings once as I recall. But he wasn’t present at the last meeting,” Yuli told reporters as reported by tempo.co.
The meeting Yuli was referring to, was hosted by Coordinating People’s Welfare Minister Agung Laksono at his office.
Agung, who is also the deputy chairman of the Golkar Party, was questioned by KPK investigators on Friday as a witness in the case. He denied that the meeting was to discuss the allocation of additional funding for the Games.
Agung also denied that he knew anything about the request for additional funds. However, he admitted that he had held a meeting with Riau Governor Rusli Zaenal and officials from the Youth and Sports Ministry to discuss funding for the Games.
“There was no discussion about more funds for the event. What was discussed was the realization of the budget,” he said.
The extra Rp 900 million in funds were said to have been included in the revised Bylaw No.6/2012 on the budget for the Games’ venues. The request for additional funds came from the Youth and Sports Ministry and was addressed to the Finance Ministry.
The KPK has named six suspects in the case; Lukman Abbas, head of Riau’s youth and sports agency; Rahmat Syahputra, a staff member of construction firm PT Pembangunan Perumahan; Eka Dharma Putra, an official with Riau’s Youth and Sports Agency; and three Riau councilors, M. Faisal Aswan of Golkar, M. Dunir of the National Awakening Party and Taufan Andoso Yakin of the National Mandate Party.
University of Indonesia public policy analyst Andrinof Chaniago said that the Youth and Sports Affairs Ministry was prone to graft because it handled a large number of emergency projects, designed and completed in a rush to host sporting events. “This has made the ministry a cash cow for politicians and political parties,” Andrinof told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
He said that projects overseen by the ministry were designed to be corrupted from their inception.
“But the masterminds are not people in the ministry itself, it is political parties and politicians who have authority to control budgets, and ministry officials who are reckless and are unaware of the consequences,” Andrinof said.