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KPK identify graft methods used by regional heads to get back campaign funds

Jakarta Post - September 30, 2020

Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) identified at least six modi operandi for corruption committed by regional heads to get back the money they spend on election campaigns.

"We will know right away if regional heads are committing these acts," KPK public service and education director Giri Suprapdiono said on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.

The first method was by offering positions in the regional administration to officials in exchange for illicit money. They offer positions ranging from agency head to school principal.

A case against Tengku Dzulmi Eldin, the former mayor of Medan in North Sumatra, involved this modus operandi. He received bribes from regional officials who hoped to retain their position within the Medan administration as Tengku was expected to serve as mayor until 2021. The court sentenced him to six years in prison.

Second, a regional head might manipulate the procurement of goods and services through regional budget planning. Giri said it was common for regionals heads to receive kickbacks or arrange procurement tenders to favor a certain company.

The antigraft agency arrested Tasdi, the former regent of Purbalingga in Central Java, for receiving an illegal commitment fee from a company for the construction of the regency's Islamic center.

Third, a regional head might sell permits to certain corporations supporting their political campaign. For example, the regional head would issue a permit for construction and plantations in exchange for illicit money.

One example of this method occurred in Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, where regent Rita Widyasari received bribes in exchange for a plantation location permit.

Giri said regional heads could also embezzle from the regional budget. This method would require the leaders to work with the regional legislative council to pass an embezzled regional budget for the next financial year.

Regional heads, Giri went on to say, also tended to receive unlawful gifts. According to the 2001 Corruption Law, a state official can face criminal charges if they do not report any gratuity to the KPK within 30 days.

Lastly, a regional head could embezzle regional income by disbursing it to other state officials as well as their supporters rather than reporting it to the regional budget.

Giri added that incumbent regional heads could also embezzle money from regional budgets to fund his or her electoral campaign.

Many believe high-cost election campaigns will encourage politicians to misuse their power and commit graft in their attempts to find easy money for the election.

According to the Home Ministry, each regental or mayoral candidate can spend up to Rp 30 billion (US$2.01 million) to fund their campaign. Meanwhile, a gubernatorial candidate can spend up to Rp 100 billion to participate in an election. (dpk/kuk)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/09/30/kpk-identify-graft-methods-used-by-regional-heads-to-get-back-campaign-funds.html