Papuans call for probe into alleged misuse of ‘Otsus’ fund

A group of Papuans staged a protest at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office on Monday (27/6), urging the commission to follow up on Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) findings of alleged misuse of special autonomy funds disbursed to the province.

The government has so far disbursed Rp 28 trillion (US$3.24 million) of special autonomy or Otsus funds to Papua and West Papua provinces.

The BPK found indications that Rp 4.12 trillion of the Rp 19.12 trillion (US$2.2 billion) in special autonomy funds disbursed between 2000 and 2010 had allegedly been embezzled.

The Alliance of Papuan Community for Papua and West Papua called on the KPK and the BPK to form a special team to investigate the officials allegedly responsible for the misappropriation, which they said had long been undermining development in the province.

“We urge the KPK and BPK to follow up on the findings in accordance with existing law,” the group said.

Papua was granted special autonomy in 2001. And, the Otsus fund aimed at speeding up development in the easternmost provinces of Indonesia.

But, after 10 years, special autonomy has yet to improve the welfare of most Papuan people. Many believe it is due to the incompetent administrations of Indonesia’s two easternmost provinces.

The bulk of the special autonomy funds are believed to have gone into the bureaucracy and to local government officials, while only a little was spent on empowering local people and the economy.

The BPK found that Rp 66 billion in 2010 and Rp 211 billion in 2011 in fund expenditures were not accounted for.

It also found that fake tickets had been used to account for official trips worth Rp 1.1 billion and that some procurement projects worth a total of Rp 326 billion were not carried out in line with existing regulations.

In 2010 alone, the BPK said, Rp 22.8 billion of special autonomy funds were allegedly spent on fictitious activities.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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