The government announced on Tuesday that it would loosen up audits on the disbursement of village funds to protect the local apparatus from potential legal charges because its staff have minimal budget management skills.

A closed-door meeting attended by the Home Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Ministry and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) concluded that they would not directly investigate any irregularities emerging in the scheme’s disbursement of funds that the government has run in villages since last year.

The government, instead, is planning to set up an internal supervision body comprising officials from the three ministries and from the Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP), called the Internal Government Apparatus Supervision (APIP), to review the budget spending.

In cases that the budget management leads to corruption, the APIP would report the case to police or prosecutors.

Home Ministry’s inspector general Tarmizi Abdul Karim said that the three ministries with the help of BPKP had established an online application for the apparatus to guide local officials in using the funds in order to avoid future misuse.

“We will give supervision to help the program’s implementation become a success,” Tarmizi said.

Tarmizi said the APIP had been equipped with around 6,000 officials, placed at the regency and city level so that they could give timely feedback to village officials who require help in making the program successful, as well as to prosecute any mismanagement related to graft.

Doubts linger over the village apparatuses’ ability to manage the funds, worth trillions of rupiah. The fear prompted activists to call on the KPK to supervise the program.

Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said that the ministry is stepping up its effort to train and empower village administrations, including the village chief and staff members, about how to manage and sort the funds.

“The main objective of the training program is that the funds would be utilized for the prosperity of the village residents,” he said.

KPK deputy for graft prevention Pahala Nainggolan said that the antigraft agency stepped back from the program’s supervision due to the fact that it lacked the human resources to supervise its implementation in 74,000 villages across the country.

In 2016, the government has allocated a total of Rp 47 trillion in village funds for the regions.

Pahala warned state officials at the three ministries not to exploit or try to unlawfully benefit from the funds because any related irregularities at the central government level would be subject to the KPK’s authorities.

Transparency International Indonesia (TII) secretary general Dadang Trisasongko said village apparatuses play an integral part in preventing the misuse of the village funds. He urged the government to push village apparatuses to be transparent in managing and utilizing village funds.

“The residents could control the utilization of the funds when the apparatuses is transparent about the village’s budget”, Dadang told The Jakarta Post.

Sumber :The Jakarta Post