House deliberates vehicle simulator project: Official
Hans Nicholas Jong
The Jakarta Post
A Finance Ministry official said the House of Representatives and the National Police had discussed the budget allocation for the vehicle simulator project, which is believed to be rife with corruption.
The ministry's budgeting directorate general, Herry Purnomo, made the statement following his questioning as a witness in the case by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Friday.
Herry said the budget for the project was revised following its deliberation by the National Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas) and the House. 'It was included in the 2011 revised state budget [APBNP],' he told reporters at the KPK headquarters in Kuningan, South Jakarta.
His statement contradicted claims made by several legislators who said the project was never discussed in the House as it was funded by non-tax state revenue.
The lawmakers used that argument to refute an allegation that they were involved in the graft case surrounding the project.
The allegation came from former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin, who claimed that lawmakers from the Golkar Party, the Democratic Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) received a total of Rp 10 billion from the police in return for allocating certain sums from the state budget to the vehicle simulator project.
The Democrats and Golkar reportedly each accepted Rp 4 billion, while the PDI-P accepted Rp 2 billion in bribes.
Two of Nazaruddin's companies took part in the bidding process but lost to PT Citra Mandiri Metalindo Abadi (CMMA) which belonged to Budi Susanto. Budi has been named a suspect in the graft case.
Following the accusation, the KPK summoned five lawmakers, Bambang Soesatyo and Aziz Syamsuddin of the Golkar, Herman Hery of the PDI-P and Benny Kabur Harman and Dasrul Djabar of the Democrats, all members of House Commission III on legal affairs, as witnesses in the case.
They have dismissed Nazaruddin's claims as baseless.
Herry said the Finance Ministry did not find any irregularities in the budget proposal of the Rp 200 billion (US$20.5 million) project. 'We could not check the project in detail. The proposal already had a statement from Korlantas that it held full responsibility and that the price had been correctly calculated,' he said.
Herry added that the ministry only found out there were irregularities in the specifications mentioned in the proposal after the KPK investigated the case. 'We did not go that far [in evaluating the proposal],' he said. 'We did not see any markup in the budget [when we saw the proposal].'
The KPK has named several people in the case, including former Korlantas chief Insp. Djoko Susilo, who is currently standing trial for his involvement.
KPK prosecutors said while reading Djoko's indictment that the top police general cooperated with construction companies working on the project to mark up the budget by including unnecessary components and increasing the prices of components.
The markup caused the budget to balloon from Rp 98 billion to Rp 200 billion, which then caused state losses of Rp 145 billion, the prosecutors said.
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