Headlines

President ‘yet to explain
tax discrepancies’

President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono should do more than just make claims in responding to reports of alleged discrepancies in his family’s tax returns, former finance minister and director general of taxation Fuad Bawazier said on Tuesday.

In a press conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Monday, the President responded to a report published by The Jakarta Post that highlighted alleged irregularities in his family’s tax documents.

“I was told that what was published in The Jakarta Post was not exactly the same as the data in the taxation directorate,” he stated on his personal website, presidensby.info.

“But, that is not my point; I want to tell the people that I and my sons have fulfilled our obligations honestly in paying taxes.”

According to Yudhoyono, their tax reports had been verified by the tax office, which did not find any irregularities or errors. “The process was accountable. After I had completed the process, I asked them to check if there was anything amiss,” he said.

In his defense, the President said that, as the leader of this country, his assets were far from excessive and yet he still paid his taxes. It was no secret that many of those with trillions of rupiah worth of assets had not paid tax, the president said, adding that people should not be so quick to point fingers.

Documents obtained by the Post revealed numerous inconsistencies between the first family’s wealth and their annual earnings, based on the tax returns of Yudhoyono and his two sons, Maj. Agus Harimurti and Edhie “Ibas” Baskoro.

Agus declared on his 2011 tax return an annual income of Rp 70.2 million (US$7,300) as an officer with the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) in Jakarta.

The tax documents, however, revealed that Agus opened four different bank accounts and deposited more than Rp 1.6 billion in that same year. There was no information in the documents as to how the additional income was earned; the section to detail extra income — including that of his wife, fashion model Annisa Pohan — was left blank.

Ibas’ 2010 tax return also raised questions. He earned Rp 183 million as a Democratic Party lawmaker. He also had an investment worth Rp 900 million with PT Yastra Capital, cash deposits amounting to Rp 1.59 billion and cash equivalents of Rp 1.57 billion. Ibas did not declare any extra income, such as dividend payments, donations, stocks or investment proceeds. He had total assets of Rp 6 billion as reported on his 2010 tax return, including an Audi Q5 SUV worth Rp 1.16 billion.

Fuad said the President should address the issue clearly for the public. “The taxpayers need to explain them [the tax reports]. Whether there was a mistake in filling out the papers or whatever, as we don’t know, they must make it clear,” he told the Post over the phone on Tuesday.

Yudhoyono said he was aware of Fuad’s move to report him to the KPK but said he doubted his credibility. The President said he had planned to appoint Fuad as a minister, but decided to call it off.

Yudhoyono’s press conference in Jeddah was made prior to his departure to Cairo, Egypt, the last leg of his eight-day foreign trip.

The President will attend the 12th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit, which is scheduled to take place on Feb. 5-6, amid unrest that has resulted in states of emergency being declared in at least three Egyptian cities.

Yudhoyono is scheduled to depart Egypt to return to Indonesia on Wednesday.

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