The Jakarta Post
The newly established Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Agency could be used as a cash cow ahead of the elections, says a Transparency International Indonesia (TII) report.
The report said that the REDD+ task force, which was formed in 2010, had received funds for the establishment of the agency, including US$9.2 million from the UN-REDD and the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, as well as $30 million in REDD+ funds for Indonesia from the government of Norway, out of the $1 billion in funds committed.
Australia also committed to disbursing $100 million within the Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership (IAFCP) in 2008.
Dedi Haryadi, TII deputy secretary-general, said that due to the large amount of funds the agency had and would receive, the agency was very vulnerable to being used as a cash cow by political parties.
'As we already know, several government institutions are co-opted by political parties. For instance, the Forestry Ministry is co-opted by National Mandate Party (PAN), while the Agriculture Ministry by the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). We have published this report as a warning that this new agency has the potential of being co-opted by political parties,' Dedi said on Tuesday.
'Even if the agency is led by professionals, the possibility is still there, one of the examples is SKKMigas [Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Force],' he said.
He added that there was potential that the funds would be misused by regional administrations running the REDD+ programs.
'Those funds trigger corruption during the procurement process in regional administrations, for example, especially with the lack of monitoring in the forestry sector as well as weak law enforcement,' he said.
'To anticipate the corruption potential, I hope that civil society and the public participate to help monitor this agency, and that the agency also complies with its commitment to be transparent,' he said.
Commenting on the report, newly appointed REDD+ agency head Heru Praestyo said that the potential of corruption always lingered in agencies with lots of funding. He said that even though it was impossible to fully get rid of corruption potential, the agency had been designed to tackle such potential and to ensure transparency and accountability in every program running in the central government and regional administration.
'One of the terms in every REDD+ project is information disclosure from the regional administration or public institution that runs it,' he said as quoted by tempo.co.