Police Suspect Graft in East Jakarta School Building Collapse

By webadmin on 11:01 am Jun 13, 2012
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Bayu Marhaenjati

Jakarta Police said on Tuesday they had questioned eight people in relation to last week’s collapse of a newly-renovated elementary school building in East Jakarta, saying the project might have been graft-ridden.

Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said the eight people questioned included the school principal, teachers, the architect and some construction workers.

“We suspect corruption because it shouldn’t have collapsed,” Rikwanto said.

He explained that renovations at state-run elementary school SDN Cipinang Besar Selatan 20 Pagi, started on April 2 and had been slated to be finished in 105 days.

“But, the building collapsed on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at midnight, just before the scheduled inauguration of the new building,” Rikwanto said.

He added the roofs and walls of at least five out of eight classrooms collapsed, damaging chairs, desks and cabinets, among other items.

Rikwanto said police had yet to name anyone as a suspect in the case.
“We’ll investigate whether they used materials less than they should have, or whether there was negligence. Investigators will summon some expert witnesses. This case has drawn the government’s attention,” he said.

Rikwanto said the renovation project was worth Rp 318 million ($34,000), which the school had received from the Education and Culture Ministry in a block grant.

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo had earlier said he would ask the Jakarta education agency to investigate the incident. No one was injured in the collapse.