Mon, 23 Oct 2000

Nurfaizi's Rp 5b donation gets mixed reaction

JAKARTA (JP): Political and social figures have given mixed reactions to the 22 imported cars and 17 motorbikes, worth a total of Rp 5 billion (US$574,000), that were donated personally by ex-Jakarta Police chief, Insp. Gen. Nurfaizi, to his former office.

Interviewed separately by The Jakarta Post on Sunday, criminologist Adrianus Meliala, City Council deputy chief Djafar Badjeber, legislator Effendi Choirie of the National Awakening Party (PKB) and a Jakarta Police source shared different views on the controversial matter.

Adrianus said he praised the move taken by Nurfaizi even though the money might have been collected by the latter as a token from other parties, such as tycoons, whose businesses had been protected by Nurfaizi's personnel.

Calling Nurfaizi an efficient police leader, the criminologist from the University of Indonesia proudly stated that Nurfaizi was on the right track.

Nurfaizi, he said, had often made a success of handling the Jakarta Police's limited annual budget (this year worth Rp 900 million) to finance costly police operations and activities.

"Nurfaizi's an excellent lobbyist," he added.

"For instance, he gives protection to tycoons and in return he has received cars and motorbikes which have become his personnel's operational vehicles, which have been shamefully limited," Adrianus said.

"I don't see this donation as a crime. Police detectives can't do much without information for which they need money and (vehicles) to move around to get the information," he said.

"And Nurfaizi has been doing his best for the police force."

Adrianus might be right about the police's lack of operational vehicles.

The police precinct in South Jakarta, home to so many important buildings and wealthy families, only has two Toyota Kijang minivans for their daily operations.

Upset with the situation, former National Police chief Gen. Rusdihardjo asked: "How else can we cope with this?"

The other chronic problem often complained about by the police's top brass officers is the low salary they and their men receive.

The question now is how could a police officer like Nurfaizi, who, according to National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Saleh Saaf, receives a monthly salary of Rp 3.5 million from the state, have so much private savings.

A doubt

"If he donates Rp 5 billion, how much money does he actually have in his savings account," asked one.

Jakarta Police spokesman Supt. Muhammad Nur Usman said earlier that the Rp 5 billion donation was all from Nurfaizi's own account.

But legislator Effendi Choirie doubted that the money was Nurfaizi's.

"It's a bit impossible," Effendi said.

"He could have got it by giving security to tycoons, receiving the cars in return. Or some political or non-political organization might have granted him the cars for unclear reasons.

"He could have also acquired it through corruption practices," Effendi said without elaborating further.

Djafar Badjeber said that it was quite obvious where the money came from.

"His salary couldn't be more than Rp 10 million a month... But I don't have to say where he got the money from. The public knows better," Djafar said.

A police source said that the illegal acquisition of cars and motorbikes by police officials was common practice in the force.

"Any veteran police reporters would know about this practice," said the source, who was formerly a detective for the West Jakarta Police before being transferred to the Jakarta Police.

"A former West Jakarta Police chief used to order all subprecincts in his area to hand over at least one imported car or motorbike a month. When he got transferred from his post, we never saw those cars or motorbikes ever again," the detective said.

"Pak Nurfaizi is still a good man. He's thinking about how we're going to survive without vehicles."

Nurfaizi, who has been promoted to commissioner general and assigned to head the National Police Training Center, officially handed over his post on Saturday to Brig. Gen. Mulyono Sulaiman, in a ceremony presided over by National Police chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro.

Despite Bimantoro's insistence that Nurfaizi was reassigned to the new post on the grounds that he was "just right" for it, President Abdurrahman Wahid said earlier that Nurfaizi had failed to "uphold the law".

The President's statement came days after the Jakarta Police -- under the leadership of Nurfaizi at that time -- arrested Suwondo, Wahid's masseuse, who had been at large due to his alleged role in the Rp 35 billion scandal at the National Logistics Agency (Bulog).

Earlier, Nurfaizi argued that the Jakarta Police should receive a bigger percentage of the local budget since the police contributed some Rp 6 billion a day to the City Administration's revenue through, among other things, taxes imposed on motorists applying for driving licenses and vehicle registration numbers.

The Jakarta Police has around 18,000 personnel. (ylt)