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Jakarta Post

Bulog accuses 'mafia' of manipulating rice for the poor

  • Made Anthony Iswara

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Thu, October 3, 2019   /  12:49 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Workers carry sacks of medium-quality rice at a warehouse belonging to the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) in Purwasari, Karawang, West Java. (Antara/M Ibnu Chazar)

Circling a sack of rice in front of a house in Central Java, five women winced as one of them cupped her hands to scoop up a sample of the contents and brought it to her nose. “This bad quality rice,” the woman exclaimed as she flinched at the smell of the rice. “Hopefully, we’ll get better rice next month,” she said in a video shown by State Logistics Agency (Bulog) president director Budi “Buwas” Waseso at his office on Sept. 22. Buwas claimed the video had been made by a rice "mafia" to badmouth Bulog in response to the agency’s investigation into illicit practices related to the non-cash food assistance program (BPNT), a program worth Rp 60 trillion (US$4.21 billion) aimed at providing rice for the poor. A joint team comprising agency officials and a special task force under the National Police has identified around 3...