Sat, 10 Jul 2004

Wiranto spends whopping Rp 86.23b

M. Taufiqurrahman, Jakarta

After failing to submit their balance sheets of campaign funds on time, the pair of Gen. (ret) Wiranto and Solahuddin Wahid of the Golkar Party finally surrender the report to the General Elections Commission (KPU) on Friday and it turned out that the ticket was the biggest spender during the campaign.

In the updated version of balance sheets of campaign funds submitted to KPU, Wiranto and Solahuddin collected a total of Rp 87.05 billion funds from donors and spent Rp 86.23 billion for campaigning.

The spending of the Wiranto-Solahuddin pairing exceeds that of incumbent President Megawati Soekarnoputri and Hasyim Muzadi ticket who dispensed Rp 85.94 billion from proceeds of Rp 104.86 billion.

The Wiranto-Solahuddin pair trailed in third position behind Megawati-Hasyim ticket in the national tally by a four-percent margin.

In the latest report, the pairing of Amien Rais and Siswono Yudohusodo was not as broke as they were stated in an earlier report.

The pairing only has to cover a deficit of Rp 52 million, a paltry if compared to Rp 2.05 billion as stated in its latest balance sheets.

The Amien-Siswono ticket received a total of Rp 34.26 billion and spent Rp 34.31 billion.

Earlier, KPU member Mulyana W. Kusumah said Thursday evening that the Wiranto-Salahuddin pairing failed to beat the 6 p.m. deadline for submitting their campaign fund report.

However, a source with the KPU said that the pairing's campaign team had submitted the reports before the deadline.

"The balance sheets report failed to reach the officials in charge as it was withheld by staffers in other divisions," the source told The Jakarta Post.

Under the presidential election law, candidates have to submit their financial reports to the KPU three days after the date of the polls at the latest.

The commission on Friday handed over the reports to five public accounting firms for auditing.

Public accountant Bambang Sutjipto Ngumar, who was tasked to audit the campaign fund of Amien-Siswono pairing said that he had 15 days to investigate the sources of fund and how it was expended.

He said, however, that his accounting firm would not go through all donors to corroborate that they did contribute to funding of the candidates' campaign. "We will randomly pick only 30 donors as samples," he said.

Mulyana said that although the accounting offices would not comment on their findings, the possibility was open for the candidates to be disqualified from the race, if they were found to receive donation from unlawful sources.