APSN Banner

Two BRR officials named suspects in corruption case

Jakarta Post - September 14, 2006

Nani Afrida, Banda Aceh – Prosecutors have named two staffers of the Aceh and Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) as suspects in alleged corruption involving the publication of a book by the national agency.

BRR budget official Achyarmansyah and Hendrawan Diandi, who led the book project team, are charged with inflating the price of the agency's annual report, Developing the Promised Land.

"There are some indications there may be more suspects from BRR. Right now we're developing the investigation into the two staffers," Aceh Prosecutor's Office head Teuku Zakaria told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Printing companies PT Wahana Multiguna Mandiri and PT Patriot Pembaharuan Jaya are also possible suspects, he added.

Zakaria said both Achyarmansyah and Hendrawan were named suspects after 20 days of investigation. The two were among 13 witnesses questioned about the graft case, 10 of whom work for the BRR.

"The financial loss of the markup case is Rp 480.5 million (around US$50,578)," he said. Zakaria said the book project was carried out without a public tender, leading to inflated prices.

Four editions of the book were printed before the price was determined, and every edition cost a different amount, he added.

The first edition of some 600 copies, he said, was printed in May by PT Multiguna Mandiri at a price of Rp 570,000 each. The second edition of 250 copies by the same company cost Rp 450,000 per copy. Six hundred copies of the third edition, an English version, were printed by PT Patriot Pembaharuan Jaya at a price of Rp 575,000 per copy. The fourth edition was printed by CV Rizki Grafis for Rp 220,000 each.

Zakaria said the book should have cost only Rp 265,000 per copy if printed at the Banda Aceh printing office. "We're still gathering evidence to name other suspects," he said.

BRR spokeswoman Mirza Keumala said Wednesday she had not yet been informed about the corruption charges against Achyarmansyah and Hendrawan. "But from the beginning (of the investigation) we have said that we will abide by the law and respect the legal process," she added.

A recent report from Indonesian Corruption Watch alleged irregularities including corruption and collusion in five BRR projects valued at a total of Rp 23.8 billion. The projects were carried out in the 2005 budget year, which ended in April 2006. The allegedly graft-tainted book procurement was one of the projects.

The agency has acknowledged that it sometimes bypassed official procedures, arguing that this was justified under existing regulations governing emergency work in Aceh.

Acting BRR secretary Teuku Kamaruzzaman, a former Aceh rebel leader, has admitted the agency directly appointed several partner companies to complete the projects, in order to avoid numerous technical and bureaucratic hurdles.

The companies were appointed without tender not because of collusion, he said, but because the work was of an emergency nature, so direct appointments were allowed under existing regulations.

A presidential decree on the agency requires it to hold public tenders for all projects valued at Rp 50 million or more, except for those projects classified as emergency work.