The village fund is a pet project launched by the Ministry for Villages, Underdeveloped Regions, and Transmigration, headed by Marwan Jafar, worth of trillions of rupiah intended on developing 73,000 villages in Indonesia. (Antara Photo/Adul)

Fitra Accuses PKB of Budget Misuse, Graft in West Java

BY :YUSTINUS PAAT

OCTOBER 27, 2015

Jakarta. The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency, better known as Fitra, has slammed a major political party for misuse of the national village fund in Sukabumi, West Java, an official has said.

The document, obtained by Fitra, is reportedly on a National Awakening Party (PKB) letterhead. It claims village facilitators will not be trained under the national village fund program unless they enroll as party members of PKB.

Facilitators, according to the document, are also required to donate 10 percent of their facilitator salary to the PKB.

Finger pointing

“There are three things we have to criticize. First, the power abuse [allegedly] committed by the party. Second, the potential misuse of the State Budget [APBN], as the budget will be used to pay the village's facilitator. Third, this move will potentially benefit the party from the village fund,” Apung Widadi, Fitra's Advocacy Coordinator, said on Monday.

Apung added that this move is tantamount to graft, as the PKB is misusing village funds for party gains.

“We therefore would like the Villages, Underdeveloped Regions and Transmigration Minister [Marwan Jafar] to explain this potential graft case. We also would like the PKB's chairman to [counter these allegations]. We would like the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK] to deal with it,” Apung added.

Baseless allegations

In response, Marwan Jafar, also a PKB member, claimed that the allegations are defamatory in nature.

“There are irresponsible people out there [committing] wrongdoings by using the party's name [...] It is defamation,” Marwan said in a written statement on Monday.

Marwan added that the village ministry from the outset of the program had shown interest in recruiting village facilitators online, so that the recruitment process will be as transparent as possible, while simultaneously encouraging any suspicious activity to be reported.

“However, we are ready to legally process the matter if [misuse of village funds is] happening,” Marwan added.

PKB's representative chairman for the Sukabumi district, Asep Supriatna, denied the allegations in its entirety.

“We have never made any documents asking for money from facilitators, or asking them to join the party. It is not true. The letterhead is even different to our letterhead,” Asep said on Monday.

The village fund is a pet project launched by the Ministry for Villages, Underdeveloped Regions, and Transmigration, worth trillions of rupiah intended to aid the development of 73,000 villages in Indonesia.

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