Mon, 23 Sep 2002

KKN infects many projects in N. Sumatra

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan

Some 70 percent of development projects in the North Sumatra provincial administration were tarnished by the practices of collusion, corruption and nepotism (KKN), two business associations said on Saturday.

According to evidence found by the National Contractors Association (Gapeknas) and the National Distributor Partners Association (Ardin), over 50 projects worth Rp 550 billion (US$61 million) funded by state and local budgets were contaminated with collusion, corruption and nepotism.

The head of the North Sumatra branch of Gapeknas, Junjungan Pasaribu, predicted that the total value of graft-infected projects accounted for some 70 percent of the total value of development projects managed by the provincial administration.

RAJ Sinambela of Ardin, and also chairman of the North Sumatra Anticorruption Movement, revealed that the graft-infested projects included 48 flood-control projects in Nias regency worth Rp 31 billion and the Rp 23 billion Deli River improvement project.

Other suspicious projects include the Rp 12 billion renovation project for the provincial administration's office, a Rp 11 billion project for "transfer of inventories", a Rp 48 billion flood-control project in Asahan regency, a Rp 38 billion material procurement for state electricity company PT PLN and the Rp 6.5 billion renovation of buildings belonging to the Medan State University.

Sinambela said the corruption in those projects had been going on since the administration of governor Raja Inal Siregar which began in mid 1990s right up to the present under governor T. Rizal Nurdin.

"KKN occurs in almost all agencies and government offices, especially in agencies that are responsible for lucrative projects," RAJ Sinambela told The Jakarat Post.

In addition, the two associations also found evidence of corruption in a number of infrastructure projects worth Rp 600 billion funded by the Asian Development Bank.

Sinambela said that his organization had reported those abuses to the North Sumatra Prosecutor's Office.

The head of the North Sumatra Prosecutor's Office, Chairman Harahap, confirmed that his office had received the reports about the graft allegations, and promised to investigate them.

Responding to the allegations of rampant corruption in projects managed by the provincial administration, the newly- installed North Sumatra secretary general Muchyan Tambuse said that he would restart the bidding process for projects that had irregularities.

"This has become the commitment of this country to root out corruption everywhere. For sure, we will investigate those KKN cases," he promised.

Junjungan Pasaribu explained that KKN practices started long before a project commenced, namely from the pre-qualification and registration of bidders for the projects.

Those people often hid behind Presidential Decree No. 18/2000 on the guidelines on the procurements of goods and services to award projects to certain parties, often ending up in the practice of nepotism.

"This is embarrassing but we cannot cover the facts. Our legal system and the will of legal authorities are still very weak, so KKN happens in every government institution, including in enterprises belonging to local administrations," he said.