Wed, 12 Sep 2001

Activists tell wealth audit body to get tough

JAKARTA (JP): Activists intensified their demands on Tuesday for the Public Servant's Wealth Audit Commission (KPKPN) to investigate the origin of retired and serving state officials suspect wealth.

Many respondents have suspiciously registered part of their huge fortune with KPKPN as "grants" without naming the source and/or specifying if they accepted it while they served in office or after they retired.

Fuad Bawazir, a former tax director general and finance minister in the New Order regime, listed his Rp 30 billion (US$3.33 million) assets as "grants".

Activists demanded that the government-sanctioned KPKPN should take legal action against state officials who failed to prove the legality of their wealth.

Government Watchdog (GOWA) chairman Farid R. Faqih said that accepting gifts and grants was a violation of the oath that the official takes when assuming office.

But the problem is, as Farid pointed out, Indonesia has no law dealing with officials who violate their oath in office. Corruption Law No. 28/99 does not clearly state any punishment for the action.

"There is still a long way to go to nail those officials. KPKPN should propose harsher punishment for corrupt dealings," Farid told the Jakarta Post.

Hamdan Zoelva, a legislator of the Crescent and Star Party (PBB), voiced similar concerns. He said KPKPN has the authority to conduct the investigation.

"If KPKPN finds that the wealth is unlawful, it should take the case to the police to be brought to a court of justice," he said.

Meanwhile, a KPKPN official M. Wildan, said that KPKPN planned to summon officials suspected of acquiring wealth illegally to explain the origins of their fortune.

He said they will summon officials who have suspicious amounts of wealth to further explain its origins. "They will be asked once again over the exact amount of their wealth and how they acquired it," he said.

Wildan threatened to take officials to the police who fail to satisfactorily explain how they obtained their wealth. (09)