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Open-recruitment system marred by extortion reports

Jakarta Post - February 3, 2015

Dewanti A. Wardhani, Jakarta – Despite the city's unrelenting fight against corruption, the Jakarta Inspectorate says dozens of complaints pertaining to last year's open recruitment have been filed alleging extortion and bribery.

City Inspector General Lasro Marbun said four agencies had been reported – by civil servants and non-civil servants alike – for various violations during the open recruitment. The four agencies were the Transportation Agency, the Cooperatives, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Trade Agency (KUKMP), the Manpower and Transmigration Agency, and the Fire Agency, Lasro said.

"After the inauguration on Jan. 2, I received many reports about the four agencies about irregularities during the open-recruitment process," Lasro told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

In 2014, the city administration held an open recruitment for all civil servants seeking middle-ranking positions. The tests included a written exam and a psychological evaluation, as well as an interview with a panel consisting of several officials. The participants were assessed by a team of senior civil servants and Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

Thousands of new officials were subsequently inaugurated on Jan. 2 and a second batch was inaugurated on Jan. 27.

Lasro, known to be a close associate of the governor, added that reports varied and most were anonymously submitted, but that all reports, however, stated that money had allowed certain candidates to secure a position."For example, if one sought an echelon IV position, one would have to pay tens of millions of rupiah. Meanwhile, an echelon III position would require hundreds of millions of rupiah. The report claimed these fees were paid to individuals in the agencies, including to agency heads themselves," Lasro said.

Other reports, he said, alleged instances of cheating, where answer keys were stolen and sold to applicants, supposedly for millions of rupiah.

Agency heads at the four ministries had denied the allegations, Lasro said, with some saying they "did not completely understand the open-recruitment system". Moreover, he added, to date no proof of wrongdoing had been found, making the allegations very difficult to prove.

"The inspectorate has conducted a thorough investigation into these claims, but thus far we have come to a dead end. However, we want this incident to serve as a warning to all civil servants in the city administration that we will no longer tolerate any violations, no matter how small they are," Lasro said.

Civil servants, especially in Jakarta, enjoy many perks. They can only be fired, for example, if found guilty of the most serious offenses. Jakarta civil servants have exceptionally high take-home pay, with some positions recently receiving 200 percent or 300 percent raises.

Separately, Ahok acknowledged that such violations were rampant in the open-recruitment system and said he had also received reports of such actions.

"We can no longer fully believe the results of the written tests. In the next open recruitment, I will personally see all the participants who receive the highest scores to make sure that their scores are as good as their integrity and their work ethic," Ahok announced at City Hall in Central Jakarta on Monday.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/02/03/open-recruitment-system-marred-extortion-reports.html