Thu, 23 Nov 2000

Sutiyoso, Edy upset over councillors' trips

JAKARTA (JP): Governor Sutiyoso and City Council Speaker Edy Waluyo will summon the board of directors of the city-owned PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol over a Rp 4 billion (US$425,500) fund used to finance six councilors' overseas trips last month.

Sutiyoso and Edy said to journalists in separate interviews they were curious as to why and how the company had agreed to allocate such a large amount of money for the councilors' trips, while the administration had set aside a total of Rp 13 billion from the 2000 city budget for councilors' overseas trips this year. There are currently 85 councilors.

The two high-ranking city officials said that an explanation of the matter from the company's board of directors was badly needed.

"Maybe I can say a lot more about it after I get detailed reports (from the company's directors)," Sutiyoso said. "If the reasons (for funding the trips) are not acceptable, appropriate actions will follow. But once again I cannot say much about it until I meet the directors," said Sutiyoso.

Echoing Sutiyoso's statements, Edy said that he wanted the company directors to clarify what had happened to the City Council.

Both Sutiyoso and Edy seemed to be reluctant to talk to reporters about the matter, saying that they merely did not want to provoke polemics.

PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol is part of the chain company PT Pembangunan Jaya, of which more than 80 percent shares are owned by the city administration. Sutiyoso is the chief commissioner of PT Pembangunan Jaya. Tycoon Ciputra owns the rest of the company's shares.

Sutiyoso said that he had never been notified about the project until the media reported it.

PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol's spokesman Muchrijul Adzli had earlier told journalists that some councilors asked for money for ten-day trips to Hong Kong, Tokyo, Japan, South Africa and Australia mid last month.

It was also earlier reported that the councilors had questioned why, in the 2000 budget, the city administration subsidized the Sea World recreation park. Reports state that the taxes paid by the park were to be returned as the administration's subsidy. There was no report on the exact amount of the subsidy, but many speculated that the councilors' overseas trips funded by the company may have been a retaliatory action toward the administration.

According to Edy he found it difficult to get reliable sources on the Rp 4 billion-trips. "Most of the councilors deny it."

He reiterated that 11 City Hall officials joined the six councilors on the overseas trips, saying that the media had made one-sided reports.

"Maybe the city officials could give a better explanation than the councilors," Edy said.

Amarullah Asbah, chairman of City Council's Commission C on Finance Affairs, said PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol must explain the matter to the board of commissioners.

He said the city administration owned more than 80 percent of the company's shares, and received a contribution of Rp 6 billion this year, up 30 percent from Rp 4.25 billion in 1999.

Another councilor Saud Rahman, Deputy Chief of Commission D on Development Affairs denied that the company provided financial assistance for the councilors' trip.

"It is irrelevant and doesn't make any sense. We have our own budget for overseas trips, we don't need to look to any other party," said Saud.

He acknowledged that councilors deserved to join overseas trips as part of comparative study programs.

He said that seven officials from PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol also joined the trip to South Africa.

"PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol's spokesman lied!," he said. He was one of the six councilors.(dja/07)