Markus Junianto Sihaloho
A senior Golkar Party legislator has called for an overhaul of the House of Representatives’ notorious Budget Committee after party colleague Zulkarnaen Djabar became the latest committee member to be named a graft suspect.
Nurul Arifin, Golkar’s deputy secretary general, said on Wednesday that many members of the Budget Committee did not understand financial matters, thus leading to cases of budget allocations being manipulated or embezzled.
“I propose that the House’s budget function be strengthened,” she said.
She suggested a separate committee staffed with financial and economic experts who would consult with each House oversight commission on budget issues.
With such a body in place, Nurul said, the manipulation and embezzlement of government budget allocations could be minimized or even prevented.
She was speaking in response to Zulkarnaen being named a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) last Friday for allegedly taking combined kickbacks of Rp 4 billion ($428,000) to approve two projects for the Religious Affairs Ministry between 2011 and 2012.
The first consisted of Koran procurement between 2011 and 2012, and the second was the procurement of computer laboratory equipment.
The investigation has revealed that the ministry handed out Rp 500 million worth of Korans to each member of House Commission VIII on religious affairs, on which Zulkarnaen served.
Chairunnisa, the Commission VIII deputy chairwoman, denied that the gifts were bribes, insisting that the legislators believed the ministry wanted them to distribute the Korans to their constituents.
Additional reporting by Ezra Sihite