A state budget watchdog suspects there have been irregularities in the disbursement of Rp 63 billion (US$6.54 million) in social aid funds at the Disadvantaged Regions Ministry.
The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (FITRA) said on Sunday that the ministry had not been accountable in the disbursement of the funds as many allocations had been made without proper and sufficient documents.
“Based on past experience, the absence of crucial documents can be an indication of irregularities. Hence, I urge law enforcers to investigate,” FITRA researcher Uchok Sky Khadafi said.
He also expressed his concerns over the House of Representatives that had not “spoken out” to criticize ministries that had been accountable with state funds.
“Why has the House been silent [on this issue]?” he asked.
According to FITRA, which claims to have based its findings on the Supreme Audit Agency’s (BPK) 2012 audit, the amount of social aid funds at the ministry that lacked accountability reports accounted for 22.7 percent of the total Rp 277.57 billion allocated to the ministry for social aid in 2011.
Most of the problematic funds were allocated for projects in the regions. According to FITRA’s data, they included a sanitation project in Morowali regency in Central Sulawesi worth Rp 300 million; a clean water project in Lebong regency, Bengkulu (Rp 298 million); a clean water project in East Halmahera regency, North Maluku (Rp 313 million); a clean water project in West Pasaman regency, West Sumatra (Rp 493 million); a dock in Muna regency, South East Sulawesi (Rp 396 million); village roads in East Lombok regency, West Nusa Tenggara (Rp 325 million); and a village market in Alor regency, East Nusa Tenggara (Rp 663 million).
When contacted for his respose to the claims, Disadvantaged Regions Minister Ahmad Helmy Faisal Zaini instead asked The Jakarta Post to contact the ministry’s secretary, Nurdin. The secretary, however, did not respond to the Post’s telephone inquiry.