Sat, 27 Sep 2003

House decides to maintain current BPK board

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The House of Representatives will ask President Megawati Soekarnoputri to issue a presidential decree extending the tenure of the chairman of the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) and other board members.

"Hopefully, a new board can be selected next year," House Speaker Akbar Tandjung said during a plenary session on Friday.

The five-year tenure of the current BPK board was scheduled to end on Oct. 8.

According to Law No. 5/1973 on the BPK, members of the audit agency serve five-year terms and can be reelected for a second term.

The same law stipulates that the chairman, deputy chairman and members of the BPK are nominated by the House and appointed by the President.

But according to the country's amended Constitution, BPK members are now to be selected by the House after hearings with the Regional Representatives Council (DPD), a body that will only be formed after next year's legislative elections.

The BPK board consists of one chairman, one deputy chairman and five members. The audit agency is tasked with examining the implementation of the state budget and the financial reports of state institutions.

Akbar said the decision to extend the term of the current BPK board was made following a meeting with leaders of the House factions and top officials of House Commission IX for finance and banking.

BPK chairman Satrio B. Judono urged the President immediately to issue the decree on the extension.

Next February, the BPK is required to submit to the House the results of its audit of the implementation of the 2003 state budget.

Earlier this week, the BPK reported to the House that it had found some 87 cases of possible irregularities worth Rp 1.94 billion in the implementation of the 2003 state budget; 369 cases worth Rp 6.25 billion in the budgets of regional governments and regionally owned enterprises; and 117 cases worth Rp 7.79 billion in state-owned enterprises. The total size of all the budgets audited by the agency during the period totaled Rp 5.09 trillion.

The agency has complained about what it says is the government's lackluster efforts in combating corruption, saying most of the suspected corruption cases discovered by the agency have been ignored.

The agency has reported a total of 6,162 suspected corruption cases since 2001 to the Attorney General's Office and the National Police, but only 505 cases, or just over 8 percent of all the cases, have been investigated, Satrio said.