Thu, 25 Aug 1994

Poor fund has been tampered with: Yogie

JAKARTA (JP): Minister of Home Affairs Moch. Yogie S.M. confirmed yesterday that some of the funds collected under a presidential aid program -- funds which were intended for the poor -- had been tampered with.

However, he added that this was probably caused by misunderstanding about they way the Presidential Aid for Backward Villages (IDT) should be administered.

He made the disclosure during a meeting with governors and provincial secretaries from all 27 provinces at his office, the Antara news agency reported.

The government has been dropping packets of Rp 20 million to more than 20,000 villages across Indonesia since the IDT scheme was launched on April 1. Under the plan, the funds are to be administered directly by the poorest people in these villages as seed capital for whatever ventures they see fit.

The local officials' role is limited to supervision and they are not entitled to take any of the funds.

However, Yogie said that he had heard complaints from some villagers that they received less than the Rp 20 million.

Further investigation showed that some local officials have cut the funds to pay for "operational supervision".

"This is wrong," Yogie told the governors at the meeting. "The cost of supervision should be paid out of a special fund which the government is also supplying."

Yogie also said that local officials who are found to have tampered with the IDT funds will face disciplinary sanctions. He did not specify the punishment.

The IDT scheme was intended to lift the condition of nearly 26 million Indonesians who are still living below the poverty line. (emb)