Lita Aruperes, Manado, North Sulawesi – The North Sulawesi Police have uncovered an alleged charging of illegal fees in the disbursement of compensation funds to former residents of East Timor (now Timor Leste).
The police's investigation team arrested a member of the National Committee for Ex-East Timor Political Victims (Kokpit), a 61-year-old man identified only with initials ML, during a raid on a branch office of state lender BNI on Jl. Datulolong Lasut, Manado, on Thursday.
North Sulawesi Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Marjuki claimed ML was caught attempting to take illegal fees from fund beneficiaries. "ML [allegedly] claimed he could help process the disbursement of assistance funds to ex-East Timor residents. As compensation, the suspect [allegedly] asked Rp 1.5 million (US$114.92) from the total Rp 10 million the beneficiaries would receive," Marjuki said.
He said ML, who was a retired teacher, was arrested in the parking lot of the BNI branch office. "The suspect was arrested when [he was allegedly] asking for Rp 1.5 million from a beneficiary, who just received the funds."
Police said the suspect was later found to have Rp 13 million in cash in his possession. Police claim that during their investigation ML told them a syndicate had committed similar actions in several BNI branch offices across Manado.
"The illegal fees were later handed over to AM, 52, who is a civil servant," said Marjuki. Police said they found AM with Rp 43 million they allege was collected from beneficiaries.
The government is providing compensation funds to former residents of East Timor who chose to remain Indonesian citizens. Under the program, ex-East Timor residents living outside East Nusa Tenggara receive Rp 10 million per person as compensation for any private assets they left behind. (ebf)