Yeremia Sukoyo, Jakarta – The Attorney General's Office has launched corruption investigation against three prosecutors in Indragiri Hulu district, Riau province, after they were named suspects for allegedly extorting money from school principals, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
The scandal broke after 64 state junior high school principals in the district resigned en masse last month for fear that they would be named graft suspects concerning the use of the School Operation Assistance (BOS) funds unless they paid the prosecutors.
The three suspects include the head of the Indragiri Hulu prosecution office identified by initials H.S., the office's special crimes unit head identified as O.A.P. and another prosecutor identified as R.F.R., AGO spokesman Hari Setiyono told reporters in Jakarta.
Hari said preliminary investigation by the provincial inspectorate revealed that district prosecutors had extorted money from school principals, based on accounts from at least six witnesses.
"The investigation concluded that six prosecutors have committed to disgraceful conducts and they all have been slapped with severe disciplinary measures namely being removed from their jobs," Hari said.
As the case was brought to the AGO, three of the six disgraced prosecutors were named corruption suspects, he added.
The school principals have publicly complained about the alleged extortion by prosecutors for a varying amount of money.
"Some have paid Rp 10 million, others handed Rp 15 million. The total amount is estimated at Rp 650 million ($44,000) but investigation is still ongoing to find the exact amount," Hari said.
The BOS is a scheme by the central government to ensure free education for students until the 12th grade by providing funds for books and school infrastructure.
The government allocated Rp 54.32 trillion or $3.7 billion this year for 45.4 million students across the country.