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Dividing Regional Budgets the Indramayu Way

The incumbent, Indramayu Regent Anna Sophanah, won the regional head election in her region, in December 2015. With this second term of office, it will be 20 years since Anna and her husband, Irianto MS Syafiuddin, have become the rulers of Indramayu. Unfortunately, there was a bad record during their leadership: there were indications that the regional budget was becoming a common field to be divided among the regional elites.

DIRECTOR of the Center for Strategic Studies for Regional Development, a non-governmental organization in Indramayu Regency, Oushj Dialambaqa, seemed annoyed. Since the end of 2015, he has been frequently called by teachers in a number of schools about a book procurement project. However, he was angry not because of what the teachers did, but because of what the teacher and principal had reported.
In January 2016, to get an answer to his frustration, Oushj went to the Head of the Indramayu Education Office, Ali Hasan. After waiting several hours, he was finally met at Ali's office. Without further ado, he lined up a number of books and a copy of the receipt for the purchase of the book on the office head's desk.

This is what I want to ask you, he said in a high tone. The funds from the purchase of this book are thought to have fled for the benefit of the Indramayu regional election, he continued, pointing to a row of books in front of him.

Oushj then talked about the method of collecting pilkada funds through the sale of these books. Almost all of these books are Student Work Sheet (LKS) books which are sold to all elementary school students in Indramayu Regency. Surprisingly, the book does not have a recognized identification code (barcode) as is customary for other books. Not even the name of the publisher. What is strange is that almost all of the payments for the procurement of these books came from the School Operational Assistance (BOS) fund, even though the school never stated that there was a need to procure such books. If you don't need it, why do schools keep buying those books?

The school principals were unable to refuse, because the seller always carried the name of a certain organization in Indramayu which was known as the children's organization of the rulers here, said Oushj. Apart from selling books, the organization referred to by Oushj also often sells various products that use the Indramayu regency's Gagak Winangsih symbol as a marker.

Oushj then showed a copy of another receipt showing the purchase of a wall decoration in the form of a Crow Winangsih with the inscription of Dharma Ayu Nagari in schools. The price of the decoration is Rp. 300 thousand per piece, and every school is forced to buy it half. Almost all government agencies in Indramayu are not only schools - now hanging up the Gagak Winangsih wall decoration. "I suspect this is the project of someone close to the Regent of Indramayu, who ultimately aims to perpetuate power," said Oushj angrily.

Unfortunately, Oushj's suspicions stopped there. It is difficult for him to find school principals and other public officials in Indramayu who are willing to openly explain what is behind the policy of purchasing LKS books and the Gagak Winangsih wall decoration. As a result, further investigations regarding the organization that allegedly forced the procurement of LKS books and wall decorations came to a dead end. When asked for confirmation of this matter, the Head of the Indramayu Regency Education Office, Ali Hasan, only answered briefly. About books, I also just found out about this. Thank you for the information, said Ali while promising to follow up on Oushj's report.

The INDICATION of the bancakan book project above is only one of the many rumors circulating about the efforts of the incumbent couple, Anna Sophanah-Supendi to perpetuate their power in Indramayu. As an incumbent spouse, they have access to the preparation of the Regional Budget (APBD). As is the case in many other areas, this access is prone to being misused to strengthen support networks and foster loyalty of incumbent voters ahead of the elections.

This public suspicion is reasonable because there have been a number of striking changes that can be read from the audit data of the Indramayu Regional Budget for the last four years (2012-2015). The increase in the budget appeared to be significant in the expenditure for grants and financial assistance funds. For example, the post of grant funds. In 2012, Indramayu Regency only allocated IDR 1.4 billion. However, that number increased dramatically a year later to Rp19.075 billion. In 2014, the post of grant funds again increased to Rp22,858 billion. In the year of the Pilkada in 2015, there was a significant increase in the post of grant funds to Rp. 57.185 billion or 2.5 times from the previous year.

A striking increase also occurred in the Financial Assistance Fund (DBK) expenditure post for provinces / districts / cities, villages and political parties. In 2012, DBK in Indramayu was only Rp. 57,231 billion. That number increased in 2013 to IDR 63.606 billion, then increased again in 2014 to IDR 71,722 billion. In the year of the elections in 2015, there was a significant increase again to Rp216.73 billion or almost three times that.

The increase in the DBK expenditure post automatically increases the budget for financial assistance funds for political parties. In 2015, funding for political parties in Indramayu District reached Rp. 971 million, which was distributed to nine parties. The Hanura Party received Rp57.76 million, then Gerindra Rp.76.64 million, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) Rp.67.517 million, the National Awakening Party (PKB) Rp.123.6 million. The ruling party Golkar received Rp389.86 million, PDI Perjuangan Rp.152.229 million, Democrats Rp.51.256 million, and Nasdem Rp.52 million.

DBK posts for political parties always exist every year.

In the 2014 Indramayu APBD, for example, the post of aid funds for political parties was allocated Rp. 801 million (before the change), which then edged up in the amended APBD to Rp. 871 million.

Apart from political parties, the village government enjoyed a significant increase in DBK spending posts. The DBK post for villages in Losarang Subdistrict in the 2014 APBD was allocated in the amount of IDR 2.4 billion (before the change) and IDR 3.3 billion after the change. A year later, in the 2015 regional election, the allocation drastically increased to Rp. 8.72 billion or almost tripled. This significant upward trend occurred in many other villages. Villages in Lelea Subdistrict received village assistance allocations of Rp.8.66 billion in 2015, or an increase of almost three times from the 2014 APBD, which only allocated Rp2.93 billion.

On average, in 2015, each village in Indramayu District received around Rp. 500 million to Rp. 800 million from the DBK post, an increase of three times on average from the previous year. This certainly invites a question mark. Moreover, the accountability for the use of the abundant funds was also not well prepared.

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When met, a kuwu in Kertasemaya Village, for example, was not even there on weekdays. A village staff member explained that the post of financial assistance from the Indramayu Regional Budget was used for physical repairs to the village office building and various other development projects. However, he refused to provide a detailed report on the use of his village budget.

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Director of the Center for Strategic Studies for Regional Development, Oushj Dialambaqa, assessed that the increase in the amount of the Financial Assistance Fund (DBK) ahead of the regional elections is a common occurrence in Indramayu. Usually these budgets, he said, were used to maintain votes at the village level.

BEFORE being elected as Regent of Indramayu, Anna Sophanah accompanied her husband, Irianto Ms Syafiuddin to lead his birthplace for two periods (2000-2010). Yance, as Irianto is called, was previously a high official at the Ministry of Religion in Jakarta.

Yance's tenure in Indramayu was not smooth. In December 2014, Yance was arrested by Attorney General officials. He is suspected of being involved in the alleged corruption case of land acquisition funds for the construction of PLTU Sumuradem. It was not until June 2015 that the Bandung Corruption Court found Yance not guilty in the case. The testimony of Vice President Jusuf Kalla at that time greatly relieved Yance.

During the tenure of Anna, who replaced her husband in 2010, a number of cases of alleged corruption have also surfaced. There was a case of misappropriation of a PDAM account worth Rp. 9.3 billion. Then the alleged corruption of Pertamina's CSR funds in 2010 amounted to Rp. 15 billion, as well as cases of fake diplomas.

In its audit report, the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) has provided several notes in its 2013-2014 report. Regarding Indramayu Regency assistance funds for villages, for example, the BPK found that there were violations of regulations. In the 2013-2014 period alone, it was found that 23 villages had received village grants and large grants for three consecutive years, something that was considered to be against the rules. In addition, the BPK also found that there was a flow of funds from the Indramayu Regional Budget to the GG Foundation of Rp. 2.8 billion which was deemed inappropriate. The GG Foundation is one of the foundations that often receives Indramayu Regional Budget assistance. Unfortunately, the search to the address of the GG Foundation has not produced any results. Not only that. The BPK also found a problem in the Indramayudi Regency Government's deposit of Rp. 5 billion in the Jakarta branch of the PMT Bank, which is now unclear.

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The PILKADA Indramayu which was held on December 9 2015, was attended by two pairs of candidates, namely Anna Sophanah Supendi (Andi), number one and Toto Sucartono Rasta Wiguna (Tora), number two. Both will compete for 1,411,094 votes from the Indramayu community. We are confident of winning, said Anna Sophanah, to reporters in the days leading up to the voting.

The same thing was expressed by his opponent, Toto Sucartono. He is optimistic that he can win the Pilkada because people want change. That is why he used the jargon of the Movement for Change for Indramayu Bangkit.

The jargon of change is important because the Anna Sophanah-Supendi pair clearly stated that they were the extension of the previous Regent, who in fact was Anna's husband: Irianto Ms Ssyarifuddin. Even their vision and mission, namely Youth (Relijius, Maju, Mandiri, Sejahtera) is the vision and mission that Irianto carried during his 10 years as Regent there.

Interestingly, since becoming Regent of Indramayu in 2010, Anna's assets have increased by almost 100 percent. In the State Officials' Wealth Report (LHKPN) issued by the KPU, on 30 November 2015, Anna has a net worth of Rp8,549,134,800, up nearly Rp. 5 billion from the figure she reported five years earlier. However, when confirmed, Anna Sophanah stated that the data on her wealth was wrong. There are about four of my cars that have been sold, he said.

As a result of carrying out two conflicting campaign themes, the competition between the two candidate pairs in Indramayu was running hot. During the campaign period which lasted from 27 August 2015 to 5 December 2015, a number of upheavals had surfaced. Repeatedly, the Tora camp reported the behavior of its competitors in the Anna Sophanah camp to the Indramayu Regency Panwaslu.

In early November 2015, the Chairperson of the Advocacy Team for the Tora Pair, Afif Rahman, reported to Panwaslu, accusing the Indramayu bureaucrats of not being neutral in the regional elections. He pointed to the incident at the taaruf parade of the opening of the MTQ at the Indramayu Regency level in Juntinyuat District on November 2, 2015. In the parade, a number of civil servants were seen carrying posters depicting candidate pairs Anna Sophanah and Supendi.

Afif also reported the incident in Gabuswetan District, Indramayu. The Tora team found the use of state facilities and money politics in meetings of community leaders, all heads of villages in Gabuswetan, and the kuwwu.

Chairman of the Indramayu Regency Panwaslu, Supandi, claimed that all reports of violations during the elections had been handled. This was proven by the summoning of various parties. However, due to lack of evidence, many reports have not continued with sanctions.

As a result, after the elections were over, the incumbent Anna Sophanah-Supendi won. The General Election Commission (KPU) Indramayu said Anna won 55.93 percent or 452,032 votes, while her opponent Toto Sucartono-Rasta Wiguna (Tora) won 44.07 percent or 356,166 votes.
Toto Sucartono did not immediately accept the KPU recapitulation results. According to him, there were at least 70 violations in the Indramayu regional election process, which included money politics, bureaucratic neutrality, vote mark-ups, and incumbents.

He then pointed to the case in Indramayu District. There were reportedly several residents who did not get an invitation to vote. These people come from different professions, namely civil servants and private employees. Several hours before the election, village officials issued voting invitations. However, the only ones who got were civil servants, while we private employees did not get an invitation so we could not vote, said a resident.

All evidence of various violations is then submitted to the Constitutional Court. However, in the court decision, the Constitutional Court rejected the Tora pair's lawsuit. Based on this decision, the KPU Indramayu appointed the Anna Sophanah-Supendi pair to be the winner of the Pilkada. All indications of budget sharing in the district are no longer the subject of public discussion. Everything evaporated as Anna Sophanah was re-elected as Regent of Indramayu.
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