Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Religious Affairs Ministry will sanction all parties proven to have misappropriated operational assistance for Islamic boarding schools, a ministry's official stated.

"The Religious Affairs Ministry has zero tolerance towards all parties that misappropriate the operational assistance fund," the minister's special staff, Nuruzzaman, noted in his statement received here on Wednesday.

He remarked that operational assistance fund misappropriation cases had been reported in the 2020 budget year. Some cases have undergone the legal process, while others have proceeded to the court, he pointed out.

"Some perpetrators of the fund abuse have also been convicted," the ministry's official stated.

Since serving as religious affairs minister at the end of October 2020, Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has promptly implemented improvements in the ministry's administration, he stated.

The minister has also taken measures to prevent abuse of the state budget, including by improving the disbursement and monitoring measures of the operational assistance fund for Islamic boarding schools, Nuruzzaman remarked.

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"The ministry also instructs all officials and encourages all residents to participate in monitoring and ensuring that assistance fund for Islamic boarding schools reached the intended recipients and (is utilised) according to its purposes," he noted.

The special staff drew attention to the minister's commitment to preventing misappropriation by not covering up past cases and cooperating with relevant stakeholders.

"The recent ICW (Indonesia Corruption Watch) findings are also based on the ministry data. This demonstrates the Religious Affairs Ministry's firm commitment to be transparent and accountable for its improvement to prevent misappropriation," he remarked.

Despite committing to prevent further fund abuse, he stated that the ministry will seek to clarify false information disseminated by some parties attempting to frame the misappropriation as occurring during Qoumas' leadership.

"We do not want Islamic boarding schools and their pupils to be stigmatised by the work of some parties that committed the abuse. Islamic boarding schools and their pupils are an institution and a community with a proven history and are capital for the people's progress and the Indonesian society in the future," Nuruzzaman stated.
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Translator: Zubi Mahrofi, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Suharto
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