National

Police defend ‘lavish
spending plan’

The National Police on Friday defended their plan to spend Rp 1.366 trillion (US$ 140 million) for a number of procurements including the purchase of seven horses and 90 dogs that would cost Rp 16.65 billion alone.

The Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) has called the prices set in the police’s spending plan “ridiculous”, arguing it could also open the possibilities of misappropriation during the tender process. The National Police, however, claim that the prices were reasonable.

The National Police’s general planning and development assistant Ins. Gen. Sulistyo Ishak said on Friday that the prices of listed items — such as horses, dogs, cars and laptops — were based on market values.

“We will use the Electronic Goods and Services Procurement System (LPSE) for the tender to guarantee transparency,” he said during a press conference at National Police headquarters.

For the sake of transparency, National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Suhardi Alius explained details of the project to journalists.

He confirmed that the police had allocated Rp 16.65 billion for the purchase of seven horses and 90 dogs from the Netherlands. “The price of the dogs ranges between $8,000 and $9,000 each. But don’t just focus only on the price, we have to calculate additional costs.”

In total, the dogs will cost Rp 7.83 billion, but the final price will climb to Rp 13.5 billion due to taxes, shipment and training and accommodation and transportation for the police selection team sent to the Netherlands. “We will send the dogs to all regional police offices as security during the 2014 elections,” he said, adding the dogs had abilities to chase terrorists and track down illegal drugs.

Suhardi said that another Rp 3.15 billion would cover all costs for the procurement of seven trained horses, with each priced between $20,000 and $22,000.

IPW chairman Neta. S. Pane was unsatisfied by Sulistyo’s clarification, saying that the police had not shared important details on the budget allocation. “They did not disclose the breeds and abilities of those animals clearly,” he told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview.

He said it was baffling that the police should spend billions of rupiah for dogs and horses.

Neta also questioned the jaw-dropping allocation for high-tech facilities. The IPW mentioned that the police allocated Rp 28 million for every laptop, Rp 7 million per external hard disk and Rp 156 million per rubber boat, and Rp 2.7 billion per search and rescue car.

“They have to be open about the specification of those facilities. As far as I know a state-of-the-art laptop doesn’t cost that much, while the highest quality of external hard disk only cost Rp 3 million each,” he said.

In the police’s defense, Sulistyo argued that “the laptop’s price will also include training package and many more. Those figures represent the maximum price that can be spent by us.”

Neta suggested that the National Police use the majority of the fund to buy vehicles for police stations across the archipelago.

“In the face of the 2014 election, we need to strengthen police stations across the nation. Most stations are operating with limited vehicles. Why do we need horses? The budget for a horse could be used to buy three cars,” he said.

The IPW has urged the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) look into the project. However, the KPK declined to do so, arguing that they needed to obtain evidence of misappropriation before launching an investigation. (yps)

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