Danang Widoyoko

Indonesia lost as much as Rp 2.13 trillion ($238.6 million) to corruption in 2011, a watchdog revealed on Sunday (29 January 2012). Danang Widoyoko, the coordinator of Indonesia Corruption Watch, said a study by his organization showed that embezzlement accounted for most of the money lost and that government investment was the sector most prone to graft.

Embezzlement cost the state Rp 1.23 trillion last year, almost three times more than the second most prevalent method, bogus projects and travel costs, which cost the state Rp 446.5 billion. Misappropriations came third at Rp 181.1 billion, followed by markups at Rp 171.5 billion.

Mr. Widoyoko said that the presidential instruction issued last year, on eradicating corruption, was not strong enough to combat corruption. He felt that the presidential instruction should have given more weight to action that can be taken by the police and the Attorney General’s Office to investigate corruption cases.

He said police and the AGO made the problem worse by using much of their graft prevention funds for internal reform instead of going after other graft cases. Prevention must be stressed in the political arena. However, Danang said it was regrettable that neither the government nor the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had drawn up a blueprint for tackling graft at that level.

Mr. Widoyoko warned that the next two years could see politicians and parties meddle in the mining, forestry and plantations sectors as they sought to raise funding for their campaigns in the forthcoming elections in 2013.

Separately, Bambang Soesatyo, a member of the House of Representatives, called on the KPK not to be pressured into cherry-picking which politicians it investigated. Bambang was responding to speculation that KPK chairman Abraham Samad was pressured into not probing Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum, who has been implicated in corruption by graft suspect and former Democrat treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin.