Reprimand regional head candidates over COVID-19 fund misuse: MPR

Reprimand regional head candidates over COVID-19 fund misuse: MPR

People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo (HO-Dok MPR RI)

The KPU and Bawaslu must take firm action as mandated by regulations against the incumbent regional leaders contesting in the elections if they are found misusing the COVID-19 relief funds for their own political campaigns
Jakarta (ANTARA) - People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo urged the General Elections Commission (KPU) and Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) to take punitive action against regional head candidates caught misusing COVID-19 relief funds for political campaign trails.

"The KPU and Bawaslu must take firm action as mandated by regulations against the incumbent regional leaders contesting in the elections if they are found misusing the COVID-19 relief funds for their own political campaigns," he noted in a statement here Tuesday.

A total of 270 regions in Indonesia, comprising nine provinces, 224 districts, and 37 cities, will organize regional elections on Dec 9, 2020.

In response to reports sent by community members to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Soesatyo pressed for imposing sanctions on regional head candidates found violating laws and regulations.

He suggested that the KPU and Bawaslu work closely with those from the anti-graft body for continually monitoring the implementation of COVID-19-related relief programs to prevent embezzlement of funds before the convening of the simultaneous regional elections.

Soesatyo also warned that participating regional head candidates should not misuse the state's facilities and funds for matters unrelated to the handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

Indonesia has been striving to combat corruption crimes for decades. However, several regional leaders were arrested on corruption charges.

In January 2019, for instance, KPK investigators arrested eight people, including Mesuji District Head Khamami, over graft charges.

ANTARA noted that during the raid, the KPK investigators seized a cardboard box containing banknotes of Rp100 thousand denomination. The money in the box was estimated to reach around Rp1 billion.

The money might be part of the fees for 2018's infrastructure projects of the Mesuji Public Works and People's Housing Office, the KPK spokesperson stated at that time.

In April 2018, Chief of the Task Force of Prevention, Coordination, and Supervision of the KPK Asep Rahmat Suwandha revealed that 93 regional leaders, including 18 governors and 75 district heads and city mayors, had been named suspects in corruption.
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