Jokowi requests strict punishment of corrupt officials stealing pandemic mitigation funds

President Joko Widodo. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – The people continue to watch how the COVID-19 and national economic recovery funds, which spiked from IDR 405 trillion to IDR 677.2 trillion, are being used. Other than the large amount being budgeted, many think that the allocation is ineffective. One of the hottest news items was when a House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”), Partai Demokrasi Indonesian Perjuangan – “PDIP”) politician, Adian Napitupulu, criticized the use of IDR 150 trillion of the funds. President Jokowi called him to talk and explain, but people continue to discuss the subject. 

Warning against possible corruption of COVID-19 aid funds, President Joko Widodo further instructed law enforcement to provide an early warning of all potential corruption issues. “We should all be more proactive: we must not wait for trouble to occur. Give out warnings even when you see potential issues,” he said as he opened the National Coordination Meeting for the Government’s Internal Monitoring 2020 via video conference on Monday (15/06/2020). 

Participants in the Meeting included members of the Indonesian Audit Board (Badan Pemeriksaan Keuangan – “BPK”), (Badan Pengawasan Keuangan dan Pembangunan – “BPKP”), the Indonesian Police, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi – “KPK), and Regional Governments. Jokowi orders law enforcement officers to attempt to prevent Government officials from falling into the trap of corruption. “We must not allow Government officials and employees to fall. We must establish an early warning system, strengthen our governance, make everything transparent, accountable,” he said. 

If any official who has been warned remains disobedient and is shown to be corrupt, Jokowi stated that law enforcement must be strict against the violator. However, they must be careful and make sure that no legitimate policy maker need be afraid of their actions. “I warn you not to bite on innocents. Don’t bite anyone without mens rea. Also, don’t spread fear that obstructs the executors in the exercise of their duties,” he said. 

Jokowi further reminds everyone that “This figure, this IDR 677.2 trillion, is a very large amount. Therefore, the governance must be good, the target must be proper. The procedure must be simple and uncomplicated,” he said. “Therefore, please guard and monitor the allocation and execution of the budget so that it actually benefits the people and businesses in trouble. We must prioritize accountability and prevention when we watch over the execution of the Government’s budget.” 

Responding to President Jokowi’s instructions, Police General Idham Azis promises that his force will bring to justice any deviant who dares to steal the funds meant for COVID-19 mitigation. “Under the current pandemic situation, the Police will not hesitate to take action on anyone who misuses the funds and prosecute them according to the Law,” he said in his written statement on Monday (15/06/2020). He further warns everyone not to misuse any part of the liquidated COVID-19 funds that they handle for personal benefit. “The National Police has established a special task force under the control of the Head of the Criminal Investigation Division, Police Commissioner General Listyo Sigit Prabowo.” (dan)