Saturday, April 8, 2017


 Jakarta, April 8, 2017 (Antara) - Hari, a resident of Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, has complained that despite having applying for e-ID cards for his entire family since August 2015, no information is available on when their cards would be issued.
        "We have always received the same response from the local officers that 'you are still in the queue,'" he stated on April 6, 2017.
        Hari and his family have been given certificates stating that their e-ID cards are still being processed by the local authorities.
        Almost every region in Indonesia, including Jakarta, is facing similar problems. Several residents do not have e-ID cards, as there is a shortage of plastic cards for printing ID cards.
        The project, worth some Rp5.9 trillion (nearly US$443 million) and being overseen by the Home Affairs Ministry, has encountered problems since it began in 2011.
        In its early stage, the data recording equipment for the project had arrived late, and the project has been hit by corruption allegations.
        Just few weeks after Tjahjo Kumolo was sworn in as the home affairs minister in late 2014, he announced his plan to halt the project due to suspicions of possible corruption.
        The project, however, is still being carried out, while the alleged corruption case has been handled by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
        As the trial has been ongoing, testimonies by several witnesses have revealed a shocking allegation that some Rp2.3 trillion (some $172.5 million) of the project funds were embezzled.

        The corruption scandal allegedly involved officers of the Home Affairs Ministry and politicians serving as members of the House of Representatives (DPR) during the 2011-2012 period.    
   One of the witnesses who had disclosed the scandal during the court's hearing is M. Nazaruddin, a former Democratic Party treasurer.
        Speaking in connection with several members of Parliament who denied having received funds in the e-ID card project, Nazaruddin affirmed that it was high time that they confessed it, so that their punishment in this world and thereafter would become lighter.
        In early March, the KPK had said it was following up on a list of 38 names, so far, including current and former cabinet ministers and the speaker of Parliament for taking kickbacks from the project.
        According to some reports, those in the list include current Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, Parliament's speaker concurrently Golkar's Chairman Setya Novanto, and former home affairs minister Gamawan Fauzi.
        They have not been charged with any crimes yet, though two mid-ranking officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs -- Irman and Sugiharto -- as well as two other suspects -- Andi Agustinus alias Andi Narogong and Miryam S. Haryani -- are already facing trial.
        Irman is the former director general of population and civil administration of the Home Affairs Ministry, while Sugiharto is the former population administration information manager of the ministry. Agustinus is a businessman supplying goods and services for the project and Haryani was a lawmaker.
        According to the KPK, 14 of the 38 people have returned the bribes received from the e-ID card project. Of the 14 people are Irman and Sugiharto, while the names of 12 others are still being kept a secret by KPK.
        In fact, the agency has summoned House Speaker Novanto as a witness in the graft case several times for the corruption that occurred during the November 2011-2012 period, when he was the treasurer of Golkar Party and concurrently the head of the Golkar Party sanction at the Parliament.
        Novanto denied that the members of Commission II of the DPR had received bribes for the e-ID project.
        The Anti-Corruption Study Center (Pukat Korupsi) of the Faculty of Law of the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), however, has demanded the KPK to disclose the names of 14 people who had reportedly returned the bribes received in the project.
        "We fully support the KPK to comprehensively deal with the mega corruption in the e-ID card project. We demand the KPK to disclose the names of the 14 people who have returned the received bribes in this corruption scandal for the sake of justice," Hifdzil Alim, a researcher of the UGM Pukat Korupsi, stated in Yogyakarta recently.
        The investigation process in the corruption case should continue and be transparent, he added.
        "We urge the KPK to not be deterred by various forms of intimidation carried out by those outside the KPK," he stated.
        He urged the agency to be transparent in investigating the corruption case by announcing the names of the 14 people who claimed to have returned the bribes, among other things.
        "In our view, the move to disclose the names of the 14 people could counter the attempts to weaken the KPK in disguise of revising the law on KPK," he noted.  
   If the DPR manages to revise the law on KPK by establishing an advisory council, there is a possibility that they would carry out a wider revision, he added.
        "We reject a revision of the law on KPK and any attempt to weaken the commission, for the sake of corruption eradication," he affirmed.
        Meanwhile, Suwarsono, a former adviser of the commission, has viewed the mega corruption scandal as a major test for the KPK.
        If the anti-graft agency is not serious in dealing with the case, it will miss out on its glorious era similar to the one in 2014, he pointed out.
        Suwarsono recalled that the reputation of the KPK had dipped to its lowest point in 2015. In 2016, when the KPK got a new leadership, the public expectation was quite low, although it increased gradually, he noted.
        Despite the scandal, Minister Kumolo has made assurance that the process of collecting demographic data for the e-ID card project is not hindered by the ongoing legal proceeding.
        "We have no problem. We go on, just like driving a car. We continue to push ahead even if we are not yet smooth with the gear; the e-ID card recording process continues to be accelerated. We are now finalizing the project's tender after I cancelled the earlier one, as it was not clean and clear," the minister explained.
        While speaking in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on March 20, 2017, Kumolo expressed hope that only two people would be named suspects in the case.
        "So far, two of our officials have been named by the KPK. Hopefully, two are enough, and hopefully, the investigation process would run smoothly," Kumolo was quoted as saying by Republika.

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