Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama has said that he has found indications of irregularities in the bidding process of the troubled Transjakarta bus procurement project currently being handled by the city's Transportation Agency.
Ahok told reporters on Wednesday that the Jakarta Inspectorate was still undertaking the investigation but that he had found indications of possible fraud.
'In August the head of the Development Finance Comptroller's [BPKP] Jakarta chapter, Muhammad Yusuf, stated that the bidding process of the 330 Transjakarta buses should be reexamined and the tender should be halted,' he said.
Ahok said, however, that the Transportation Agency continued the tender, despite the BPKP's report.
'My instructions are clear. The BPKP should be included in every tender of the city's projects,' he said.
Ahok also questioned why the Jakarta Inspectorate allowed the bidding to continue without any monitoring from the BPKP. The case of the faulty buses was highlighted when pictures of damaged components of the newly arrived Chinese-made buses circulated on social media.
It was reported that around 15 newly shipped buses ' 10 single buses and five articulated buses ' which were produced by Ankai, were allegedly not in a new condition and were not in line with the specifications of the order.
The damaged components included power-steering parts, engine mounts, machine pulleys and air filters. The buses' water coolant tanks were leaking, windshields were broken, dashboard instruments were unscrewed and air conditioning units were faulty.
Ahok said he also questioned the inclination of the agency to procure vehicles from China. Products made in China, he said, could be of high quality but could sometimes also be fake.
The administration had paid 20 percent of the total contract for the buses, which was Rp 1 trillion ( US$85 million ).
'If we have to pay it and we find out that the actual price from China was less than the price that has been recorded, the case will be brought to the police or the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK],' he said, adding that the price of the buses was Rp 3 billion per unit.
Reports involving damaged Transjakarta buses appear frequently.
On Tuesday alone, three Transjakarta buses experienced breakdowns in separate locations, disrupting services and causing congestion.
In the afternoon, an articulated Transjakarta bus, BMP 057, stopped working when it was about to leave the PGC Cililitan bus station in East Jakarta, disrupting the flow of other buses that were queued behind it.
'I take Transjakarta buses to work because I want to travel faster, but this kind of problem can make me late,' Aan, a regular passenger who works in Kuningan, said.
She said it was not the first time she had experienced bus problems. Previously, she was onboard a bus that passengers were forced to exit due to a smell of gas.
On Wednesday, a damaged oil seal on an articulated Transjakarta bus caused it to produce white smoke while on Jl. Gajah Mada in Central Jakarta.