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Corruption contributes to growing separatism in Papua: Legislator

Antara News - August 25, 2012

Mimika, Papua – A senior member of the Mimika Legislative Council called on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to investigate the "rampant" corruption present in Papua, claiming that fraudulence has contributed to the growing separatist sentiment of Indonesia's easternmost province.

"People are frustrated seeing corrupters walk free in Papua," Athanasius Allo Rafra, the head of the council's Commission A, said on Saturday.

He added that corrupt officials have siphoned much of the regional budget fund into their own pockets, leaving little money over to help bolster the region's economy.

Unchecked corruption has contributed to the growing calls for an independent Papua, an area that has long been a center of conflict for Indonesia, he said.

"The people of Papua have complained of rampant corruption in the region, but Jakarta seems to show no concern. The KPK has arrested corruption suspects in other areas of the nation, but almost none in Papua," he remarked.

If Jakarta is serious about developing Papua and maintaining national integration, law enforcement has to be firmly upheld in Papua, he said.

Athanasius added that the KPK could save tens of trillions of rupiahs every year by tackling corruption. The money could be used for the welfare of the people, especially in interior areas.

"I think the KPK has received piles of reports about corruption in Papua. The KPK has even sent team of investigators to Papua but few cases have gone to court," he said.