Fri, 01 Dec 2000

Team formed to probe councillors' foreign trip

JAKARTA (JP): The City Prosecutors Office has formed a team to investigate the Rp 4 billion (US$425,500) fund from the Ancol leisure complex developer which had been used to finance a trip for six councillors and 11 city officials to Cape Town in South Africa.

"Assistance for Intelligence Unit to Jakarta Prosecutor Office Teuku Dasril lead the team and will finish the investigation within 30-days. After that we will start to summon some of the officials for the case," chief of the office, Fachri Nasution told journalists on Thursday.

If the results of the internal probe indicate corruption, his office would ask the permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Regional Autonomy to summon the councillors, he said.

He was referring to Law No.4/1999 on composition and position of the legislative body, which stipulates that permission is required from the minister of home affairs to summon councillors in such a legal procedure.

"We will do that if the case turns out to be a corruption case. We'll wait and see over the next 30 days," he said,

During the investigation, he added, the team members will question every city official related to the case as quickly as possible.

PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol, the developer of Ancol, reportedly financed the overseas trips of six councillors from Commission D on Development Affairs last month, although the city budget had allocated some Rp 13 billion for such official trips for the councillors.

The case came under the spotlight of the local media in the past few weeks, forcing both Governor Sutiyoso and City Council Speaker Edy Waluyo to summon PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol board of directors for clarification over the case.

According to the tentative schedule, executives of the developer should have met with councillors from Commission B on Economic Affairs on Thursday.

But Edy abruptly postponed the hearing for an indefinite period.

The company had reportedly admitted earlier to having financed the overseas trips of 45 people, including 14 councillors, to Australia, Japan and South Africa to study city waterfront projects, as the company may construct a similar project in the Ancol area of North Jakarta within five to 10 years.

However, the company's president director Rushadi said later that the expenditure was only US$240,000 and they were going to share the cost with PT Pelindo II, which manages the Tanjung Priok international seaport.

Pelindo II Spokesman Sujarwo told journalists on Thursday that the company has yet to pay its share but basically agreed to do so.

PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol is part of the PT Pembangunan Jaya chain, 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.

City Development Planning Board Chief Bambang Sungkono, who joined the trip and allegedly received some US$10,000 from PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol, admitted that he proposed the trip and knew about the joint financing.

"But back then the councillors did not argue, so why do they have to mention my name now?," Bambang said.

According to Commission D Chairman Sayogo Hendrosubroto, the council budget was not adequate to finance the South Africa trip while at the same time both Ancol and the city administration pushed them to go.

"Ancol executives and Bambang urged us to go. Due to the lack of funds, we let them pay for the rest of the expenses because we could only afford to give some Rp 52 million per person per trip," Sayogo explained. (dja)