Mon, 06 Mar 2000

Officials involved in land scam to be summoned

TANGERANG (JP): The Tangerang Legislative Council has said it will summon officials allegedly involved in the private acquisition of a 10-hectare plot of state land in Babakan subdistrict.

"Any officials proven guilty of distributing the land or taking ownership of any of the plot deserve to be removed from the civil service as their alleged wrongdoings have tarnished the reputation of the administration," Council Speaker Gian Sugiharto said on Friday.

Ownership of the plot was allegedly obtained illegally by officials and local residents who wanted to sell it at a profit to developer PT Mayo Waya.

The area is earmarked for development into a business center, a shopping mall and a recreational park.

The illegal acquisition of the land began last May, when land ownership documents issued by the National Land Agency (BPN) were distributed to interested locals, officials and councilors.

Gian said the 10-hectare plot was worth Rp 30 billion as each square meter had a market value of around Rp 300,000.

"Those (officials) involved must have known better that state properties are not for sale and every state asset designated to be used for other utilities must be reported and endorsed by the legislative council," he said.

The councilor, however, conceded that most officials in the local administration have been working in an environment filled with collusion, corruption and nepotism.

"That is why we have to start enforcing the law and stop the 'lip service' of eradicating corruption and collusion," he said.

Overlapping documents and orders have been detected in the land dispute, he said, citing that on Aug. 28, 1998 the mayoralty issued a land-use permit for the 10-hectare plot in the name of PT Mayo Waya, which planned to build a park, a shopping mall and a hotel on the plot, on Dec. 8, 1998.

A permit was also issued by the Tangerang mayor on Nov. 3, 1998, and endorsed by the head of the local industrial office on Nov. 30, 1998.

"While previously the administration issued a land use permit. So which one is real?" Gian said.

The development plan is in accordance with Tangerang city bylaws No. 14/1994 and No. 19/1994 on basic development and city planning, respectively. The plot itself is in a business, office and utility zone, while its status is that of a state property in the form of swamps, vegetable plots, empty plots and villages. (41/edt)