Tue, 21 Mar 2000

Government to probe alleged corruption in KPU: Surjadi

JAKARTA (JP): Minister of Home Affairs Surjadi Soedirdja said the government would look into the alleged embezzlement of some Rp 117 billion by the General Elections Commission (KPU) during last year's general election.

"The government will certainly follow up in an objective manner the Supreme Audit Agency's report on results of its recent audit on the election commission," Surjadi said.

"We are studying the report. If an embezzlement is found, all persons involved in the case will be punished," he said on Monday.

Leaked copies of the audit indicate a questionable and unexplained spending of Rp 117 billion, partly from funds provided by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Surjadi said the election commission, as an independent institution, should be made accountable and explain the discrepancies in the audit agency's report.

"The KPU, as an agency, has a chairman and secretary-general. They must be made accountable for the alleged corruption," he said.

Asked about the alleged involvement of Amur Muchasim, the election commission's former secretary-general, Surjadi said Amur should be one of the primary persons questioned about the election commission's expenditures.

"It could be that the election commission chairman (Rudini) knew nothing about the alleged embezzlement, but the secretary- general should know about it," he said.

Amur is now secretary-general to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Adnan Buyung Nasution, the KPU deputy chairman, supported a full investigation into the allegations.

"We must thank the audit agency for its success in foiling corruption. Both the government and law enforcement institutions should look into it immediately," he said.

He acknowledged that he had suspected some impropriety and even called for an audit some time ago, however, it was rejected by the commission chairman.

"It was strange to see several representatives of political parties in the election commission filing a lawsuit against me for trying to reveal the alleged corruption. But they must realize now that what I did was right," he said.

He said the case had tarnished the election commission's image both at home and overseas since a part of the elections' budget was received from foreign countries under the coordination of UNDP.

House Speaker Akbar Tandjung said the House would also follow up the audit agency's findings and would entrust the National Police and Attorney General's Office to investigate the report.

"I have yet to know the amount of allegedly embezzled funds in detail but the audit agency's report will be discussed in the next House leadership meeting," he said.

Attorney General Marzuki Darusman said he was waiting for a response from the House to audit the agency's report.

"I have heard about it but so far we have not received any response from the President, the election commission and the House," he said.

He said his office would check the reports as part of its proactive response to the report to the institutions. (rms/emf)