KPU, PPATK join hands to curb illegal campaign funds


Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Sat, December 21 2013, 10:04 AM

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has said that it will submit the personal information of legislative candidates to the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) to monitor the financial activities of candidates ahead of the legislative election.

The 2012 law on legislative election stipulates that only political parties and Regional Representatives Council (DPD) candidates must submit a financial report to the KPU. Campaign funds of individual legislative candidates are included in a summary in political parties’ financial reports.

“Details of the exchange of information on legislative candidates with the PPATK will be regulated under a memorandum of understanding [MoU] that is due to be signed in late December. The MoU also covers others areas such as education and research, information systems and legal assistance,” KPU member Ferry Kurnia Rizkiyansyah said on Friday.

Ferry said the KPU would give both the personal information of national and regional legislative candidates to the PPATK.

He added that the initiative to establish the MoU came from both the KPU and PPATK.

Commenting on the plan, PPATK spokesman Zulkarnain Adinegara said that his office was able to use its adequate information technology to trace any financial transaction with the personal information of legislative candidates.

“The PPATK will also cooperate with bank and non-bank financial institutions, as well as other related institutions to trace information about [financial records] of legislative candidates, if necessary,” he said.

PPATK head Muhammad Yusuf said that the exchange of information between the KPU and PPATK was legal under the Money Laundering Law. “It is based on Article 41 of the [2010] Money Laundering Law,” he said.

Yusuf recently said that his agency had detected an increase in the number of irregular banking activities by individuals and organizations allegedly related to political parties ahead of the general election in April next year.

Yusuf also said that the KPU regulation requiring parties to submit financial reports and campaign financing reports would be ineffective in curbing vote-buying during elections.

“The PPATK also found that parties had relatively small amounts of funding and yet their politicians could spend a lot more than the parties earned. The candidates spent lavishly, and it’s difficult to believe that all of the activities were paid for with funds reported to the KPU by the parties,” Yusuf said.

He suggested that the bank accounts of those close to candidates, such as family members, should also be monitored.

Indonesia Budget Center (IBC) analyst Roy Salam said that it would be impossible for the KPU to verify the legality of campaign funds used by legislative candidates if their campaign financial activities were only reported as an attachment to political parties’ reports.

“The KPU can make a breakthrough by asking all candidates to open personal campaign accounts and report them to the commission. It would be the only way for the commission to verify their campaign funds,” he said, adding that the account details could also be submitted to the PPATK.

Outspoken lawmaker Bambang Soesatyo from the Golkar Party, who is running for reelection next year, said that he was ready to open a personal campaign fund account, if required. “It is good for transparency. I am ready,” he said.

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