Police Pay Dearly for Miss Universe Visit

The Jakarta Globe

Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes has walked straight into a controversy while visiting Indonesia after she was reportedly offered an exorbitant sum from a West Java Police group for her attendance at an event.

Lopes, who is visiting to crown the new Miss Indonesia on Friday evening, is expected to be a VIP guest at a charity night held by the West Java branch of Bhayangkari, the Association of the Wives of Policemen, next Tuesday.

Local media reported that the West Java Bhayangkari had raised Rp 750 million ($84,000), including from contributions levied from police officers, to enable the Angolan beauty to attend the event.

Police expert Bambang Widodo Umar urged National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo to summon West Java Police Chief Insp. Gen. Putut Bayusenot over the scandal.

“The National Police Chief or the chairwoman of Bhayangkari should correct the West Java Police chief or his wife and show them how best to celebrate an anniversary,” said Bambang, a lecturer at the National Police University and a former official at the National Police Commission, a law enforcement watchdog.

“It would be better to donate the money to orphans, to use it to help low-ranking police officers or help children go to school. Sometimes they don’t even have enough money to pay the rent on their house,” Bambang said.

Bambang said that it was inappropriate to invite a Miss Universe because she was not a figure related to law enforcement. “If they want to invite a public figure, they should invite a security figure than beauty figure.” Bambang said.

Neta S. Pane, chairman of Indonesian Police Watch, said the source of Rp 750 million funding needed to be clarified. It is also not clear how much money, if any, was paid to Ms Lopes.

“It is fine to invite Miss Universe to a Bhayangkari anniversary celebration as long as the funding is coming from a sponsor,” Neta said.

“It can create a positive image for the National Police and she can learn about our Indonesian police, especially in West Java.”

“But if the funding is related to corruption or bribe allegations, then it needs to be investigated by KPK,” he added, referring to the Corruption Eradication Commission. It was ironic, Neta said, that police officers would spend millions of rupiah on a celebration while low-ranking police officers were so poorly paid.

West Java police spokesman Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto said that Lopes has been planning to visit Bandung and that the West Java Bhayangkari group was making use of that opportunity.

“The West Java Police did not have a role in inviting Miss Universe,” Agus told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday.

The appearance was reportedly made possible with the cooperation of Yayasan Puteri Indonesia — the organizer of Miss Indonesia and the franchise holder of all Miss Universe’s activities in the country — and an event organizer, Viseta Global Utama.

Viseta provides public relations and speaker training and is run by Coreta El Kapoyos, its Web site said. Coreta is Putut’s wife.

Viseta spokeswoman Megi Theresia was quoted on the Indonesian Police Commission’s Web site as rejecting allegations the money came from police coffers.

“The money came from the [event organizer], from the sponsors. We didn’t ask for money from police officials,” Megi said.

“We invited Miss Universe because she is in Indonesia so it couldn’t hurt if she comes to Bandung to attend the charity night.”

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