Jakarta lacks transparency, says auditor


A FORMER senior government auditor has warned that corruption in the Indonesian bureaucracy would persist given a lack of transparency in handling the subject.

Mr Gandhi, the former head of the Government Financial Comptroller Agency (BPKP), said that the current system and laws in place could at best only address minor corruption cases.

“Our management supervision system is too weak to fight collusion and corruption,” The Jakarta Post on Friday quoted him as saying.

Mr Gandhi, who is now a staff member of the Supreme Audit Agency (Bepeka), was speaking at a seminar on clean government organised by the Centre for Information and Development Studies.

He noted that as BPKP chief, he had often tried to investigate serious corruption cases in various government institutions, but these efforts were thwarted by senior officials in key positions.

“Investigations into serious cases of corruption could take three years to complete,” he lamented.

The corrupt practices involved:

* Forcing state-owned firms to buy shares in well-connected companies.
* Buying unnecessary supplies of goods at higher prices.
* Investing state money in banks which provide good commissions.
* Selling state assets at lower prices or exchanging them for lower-valued private assets.
* Tax evasion through collusion.

BPKP announced in 1996 that the Finance Ministry had the worst record in terms of the amount of funds which were manipulated for corrupt purposes, including those related to tax payments.

Irregularities in the ministries of agriculture, home affairs, transportation, mines and energy, co-operatives, and industry and trade were also reported to be extensive.

Mr Gandhi stressed that improving the performance of Bepeka would help curb such corruption.

Under the 1945 Constitution, Bepeka is mandated to independently audit state finances and report its findings to the House of Representatives.

He added that media publicity that arose from a corruption case that reaches Parliament was effective in discouraging others from committing similar crimes.

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