Rp 823b DPD Building Plans Draw Suspicion of Corruption
Anticorruption watchdogs accused the Regional Representative Council of budgeting Rp 517.2 billion ($60.5 million) more than necessary for their planned regional offices on Thursday.
The council, also known as the DPD, is in the process of building 33 four-story regional offices across several provinces at a total cost of Rp 823 billion, a sum that was approved in the 2010 state budget.
However, Firdaus Ilyas, Indonesia Corruption Watch’s budget coordinator, said the DPD had requested exorbitantly large office rooms for its members, leading to the project’s high price tag.
“According to our calculations, the DPD office building only needs a 1,799.55 square meter space, while they requested an area as large as 2,747.25 square meters,” Firdaus said.
“Each representative does not need a 100 square meter office [as was allocated], but only 16 square meters.”
The smaller space, he said, would drastically reduce the total cost of construction to Rp 305.57 billion, or an average of Rp 9.3 billion per building.
“Based on our calculations, DPD DKI Jakarta, for example, would only need Rp 9.8 billion,” Firdaus said.
ICW researcher Apung Widadi said the glaring markup should be a signal to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to investigate whether there is corruption behind the DPD’s building plan.
House of Representatives speaker Marzuki Alie has slammed the project as exorbitant, noting it had a higher cost per square meter of development than a planned office tower built in Jakarta for legislators, which the legislature was forced to shelve following a massive outcry over the Rp 1.13 trillion price tag.
DPD representatives could not be reached for comment on Thursday, but DPD secretary general Siti Nurbaya has said that the plan to construct the new buildings is based on recommendations made by the Ministry of Public Works, and a markup would therefore be impossible.
The DPD is ready to be monitored by the KPK, DPD deputy speaker La Ode Ida said.