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Nepotism, Corruption or Cronyism?

Police Investigating Former Governor’s Son Role in Developing Corruption Case Concerning Renovation of the Port of Benoa

A criminal case is unfolding surrounding alleged fraud and embezzlement involving the chairman of the Bali Provincial Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), AA Ngurah Alit Wiraputra (44) and others leading members of Balinese Society.

Police officials from the Criminal Division of the Bali Police have sent an update on the investigation to their Commander with details of a purported corruption of Rp. 16 billion committed by the son of former governor Made Mangku Pastika, Putu Pasek SP – more commonly known as “Sandoz.”

Preliminary indications that illegal paybacks amounting to more than ten billion rupiahs were used by Wiraputra on Sandoz’s behalf to secure permits for the major rebuilding of Benoa Harbor.

As reported by Beritabali.com, the deputy-director of the Special Crime Division at the Bali Police Bambang Tertianto confirmed police suspect corruption was involved in the transfer of monies after taking a statement from Alit who describe the money as part of an initial search for Rp. 6 billion in operational funds in which Sandoz was given Rp. 1.7 billion and US$ 800,000. A further Rp. 1 billion was given to Chandra Wijaya, Rp. 1.1 billion to Made Jayantara and Rp. 1.4 billion retained for Alit Ketek. Referring to the former Governor’s son, Bambang said, “The witness Sandoz got the most money.”

The second phase of corrupt payments totaling Rp. 10 billion reportedly saw Sandoz received Rp. 5.9 billion, Candra Wijaya Rp. 3.6 billion, and Made Jayantara received no further share.

The police investigator, Bambang, outlined the respective roles of the three witnesses. Chandra Wijaya prepared designs and drawings; Made Jayantara acted as legal counsel and lobbyists; and Sandoz – as the highest paid – acted as a “consultant.”

The police investigator said: “so, the Rp. 16 billion was used to pay consultants to allow the project to proceed.”

Investigators are expected to widen their investigation to address why the services of a very well-paid consultant was even needed simply to obtain the official permits and licenses for expanding and improving the Port of Benoa. The Licensing Division of the Bali Provincial Administration is expected to be summoned by police in due course.

Police are also trying to clarify Sandoz’s role in what looks to be a corrupt enterprise, including his role in the structure of the Company and if he holds a formal certification as a consultant. Investigators are also trying to establish a connection between the Rp. 7.5 billion paid to Sandoz to determine if it has any connection to facilitating a meeting with the then Governor Made Mangku Pastika.

Bambang added: “There is justification for suspecting corruption is involved. What that large sum of money used by Witness Sandoz to obtain permits by paying facilitation fees or in some underhanded manner? Or, was he paid more because he is the son of the former governor? All this will be clarified.”

Separately, questions are also being raised by local environmental groups as to whether or not all the required permits, including environmental impact studies, are actually in place for the ongoing renovation and reclamation of the Benoa Port. These permits, by law, should have been issued before actual work commenced. If it is determined that the environmental impact studies were not performed and the reclamation of Benoa is not legal, will contractor be compelled to remove the reclaimed land to a new location?

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