Dessy Sagita & Rizky Amelia
As antigraft officials begin looking into allegations of corruption at four top state universities, revelations have emerged of possible graft at 16 private colleges, highlighting what activists call rampant corruption in the education sector.
Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh said on Wednesday that there were indications that officials at several state universities were involved in markups in procurement projects.
‚ÄúHowever, I want to stress that nothing has been proved yet,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúTherefore I will invite the rectors of the universities in question to explain what really happened.‚ÄĚ
His statement came a day after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was scheduled to question the rectors of Sebelas Maret University (UNS) in Solo, the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and Surabaya‚Äôs Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS) over allegations of misappropriation in funding allocated by the state to the universities in the past two years.
The three rectors did not attend the questioning session because they are in Turkey for an official trip.
However, Nuh said it was highly unlikely that the rectors would know about the misappropriations, saying that all the projects were monitored closely by the ministry‚Äôs inspectorate general.
‚ÄúI doubt they were involved in the alleged markups because if they were, we would easily find out about it,‚ÄĚ he said.
The KPK also revealed that it had found indications of alleged markups at 16 private universities across the country.
Nuh said he would speak with the rectors of these colleges about the allegations. He acknowledged that each of them received funding from the government.
‚ÄúBut the value of the funds for these universities isn‚Äôt that big. Each of them receives Rp 2 billion to Rp 2.5 billion [$216,000 to $270,000],‚ÄĚ he said.
Allegations of corruption are common in the education sector, which receives at least 20 percent of the state budget each year ‚ÄĒ the biggest allocation of any sector. This year, Rp 311 trillion has been allocated to education.
The most high-profile of the recent graft allegations revolved around Gumilar Rusliwa Somantri, the rector of the University of Indonesia.
The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) found recently that illegal activities, poor financial management and abuse of power at the country‚Äôs biggest university may have caused state losses of Rp 45 billion.
In one of the cases highlighted, the BPK found that land managed by the university but owned by the state had been leased out by UI to an undisclosed third party for a down payment of Rp 15 billion and yearly installments of Rp 607 million for the next 25 years.
In another case, the rector‚Äôs office is accused of falsifying an official‚Äôs signature in connection to a Rp 21 billion funding allocation for the university‚Äôs library.
Gumilar, however, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in any of the cases, which the KPK is already investigating.