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Political corruption to flourish in Indonesia: watchdog
Publication Date : 29-12-2012
As the 2014 general election draws near, graft watchdog Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) has warned about the possible flourishing of political corruption in 2013.
ICW researcher Apung Widadi said yesterday that due to poor political party finance regulations and weak implementation, almost all parties would seek campaign funds from illicit sources, including by tapping governmental budget allocations.
“If we observe this year’s  trends, most corruption cases were rooted in government budget allocations as well as the disbursement of social assistance funds [Bansos],” he told a press conference.
He said 52 political parties’ members were implicated in graft cases this year. Their positions range from active minister to lawmaker, councillor and regent.
Abdullah Dahlan, ICW’s political corruption researcher, said the weak political party financing system was another aspect that indicate political corruption would thrive in 2013, a year ahead of the election.
“There are only a few political parties that have an independent financing system. This prompts most party cadres to gather as much campaign funding as they can from many sources,” he said.
Abdullah said ICW had requested financial reports from nine political parties this year, but none of them responded well.
Only the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party responded to ICW’s request although they refused to disclose their financial reports, he added.
Based on its research, ICW found that Golkar had the most cadres implicated in corruption cases, followed by the Democratic Party.
Apung said the Buol regency bribery case was the most notable one as it allegedly involved businesswoman and Democratic Party patron Siti Hartati Murdaya and Buol Regent Amran Batalipu. The two are currently on trial.
Meanwhile, Transparency International Indonesia (TII) project coordinator Ibrahim Fahmy Badoh said there were loopholes in the monitoring of the state budget.
“The planning of the budget leaves loopholes that make it easy for state officials to misuse the budget,” he said, as quoted by Antara news agency.
PDI-P lawmaker Ganjar Pranowo supported ICW’s finding, saying there was a huge possibility that political corruption would increase in 2013.
“Similar to ICW’s finding, we have also predicted that the [corruption] cases would increase. It is due to most people’s mind-set that if someone wants to win a seat in the House, he should have a huge amount of money,” he explained.
Most importantly, Ganjar added, lawmakers and journalists should monitor the general election process. He also urged law enforcers to be more proactive in tackling corruption cases.
Democratic Party patron Achmad Mubarok disputed ICW’s analysis. He said: “Only crazy [people] still dare to get involved in political corruption.
“I think in the future, there will be fewer chances to commit corruption because all graft cases involving political parties have been unveiled,” he told The Jakarta Post over the phone.
Mubarok said he believed the recent corruption cases were the acts of individuals, including the case involving former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin.
“Did you know that the party’s treasury was empty when he [Nazaruddin] left the party? He took all the money for himself,” he said.
“I think only individual cadres who have ambitions to secure a seat in the House of Representatives are prone to corruption.
“In fact, from all parties’ members at the House, only those sitting on the budget committee have the chance to commit corruption,” Achmad said.