Papuans Press for Suspension of Special Autonomy Disbursements Pending Audit
The Jakarta Post reported on April 19, 2011 that Papuans are pressing for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to probe allegations by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) that Special Autonomy funds intended for West Papua have been misused.
The BPK charged that US $2.2 billion in special autonomy funds disbursed between 2000 and 2010 had been embezzled.
The Indonesian government has long pointed to its expenditure of funds for West Papua under Special Autonomy as demonstrating the Indonesian government’s commitment to address the decades-old impoverishment and marginalization of Papuans.
Papuans have long complained that most of those funds have been siphoned off by civilian and military bureaucrats with little money left for improving the plight of Papuans.
A Tempo Interactive report indicates that President Yudhoyono himself recognizes that special autonomy funds have been embezzled, although the President’s office was less candid. On April 19 the President’s special staff for regional development and autonomy, Velix Wanggai, told the media that:
“The President realizes that the special autonomy funds have not been optimally and effectively managed.”
The Jakarta Post quoted Markus Haluk, Secretary General of the Pegunungan Tengah Student Association (AMPTPI):
“The KPK should find the courage to thoroughly investigate the reported misuse of the funds and legally process everyone involved in the case, including officials from the central government and those from the provincial, regency and mayoralty administrations… If [the BPK report] is only regarded as a finding without pursuing legal action, it is the same as neglect and giving the chance for officials to continue committing corruption.”
Markus added that Papua’s special autonomy has been poorly implemented from its inception. He explained that the provision of vast sums by central government to local administrations has created new problems instead of mitigating existing ones, citing as an example the corruption of local officials. He urged that all disbursements under the program, including from international donors, should be suspended pending completion of the audit.
from the West Papua Report May 2011
The West Papua Report is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua. This report is co-published with the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN).