SBY warned over social aid funds ahead of election


The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) sent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono a letter on Tuesday, recommending that all social aid funds be managed under the Social Affairs Ministry to avoid budget embezzlement ahead of the general election.

KPK spokesman Johan Budi said ministries that had no direct relationship with social activities should no longer be authorized to manage social aid funds, due to the fact most ministries had political leaders at their helms.

This year, the central government has allocated a total of Rp 91.8 trillion (US$8 billion) of social aid funds to be distributed to ministries.

Experts and activists have told the government to keep an eye on the disbursement of the funds, since ministers may use the money for political purposes as many of them are running for office in legislative and presidential elections slated for April 9 and July 9, respectively.

Last year, a Coalition for State Finance Accountability (KUAK) report showed 10 ministries managed around Rp 26 trillion, or 3.6 percent of 2013’s social aid funds.

According to KUAK, the Religious Affairs Ministry, headed by Suryadharma Ali of the United Development Party (PPP), received the largest funds amounting to Rp 11 trillion; followed by the Agriculture Ministry, led by Suswono of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) with Rp 6 trillion; the Social Affairs Ministry, under Salim Segaf al Jufri of the PKS with Rp 3.3 trillion; the Public Housing Ministry, led by Djan Faridz of the PPP, with Rp 2.2 trillion; and the Disadvantaged Regions Ministry, led by Helmy Faishal Zaini of the National Awakening Party (PKB), with Rp 1.2 trillion.

The Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, under PKB chairman Muhaimin Iskandar, received Rp 70 billion and the Forestry Ministry, headed by National Mandate Party (PAN) politician Zulkifli Hasan, received Rp 200 billion.

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry headed by Golkar Party deputy chairman Sharif Cicip Sutardjo received Rp 728 billion while the Youth and Sports Ministry, led by Democratic Party politician Roy Suryo, received Rp 608 billion.

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