Did BPK Get Right Man for The Job?
|Photo: The Jakarta Globe/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya|
Hadi Poernomo (center) and Herman Widyananda (right) being sworn in as the chairman and vice chairman of the Supreme Audit Agency, respectively, at the Supreme Court on Monday.
As a new leader was installed at the country’s highest audit agency on Monday, critics had already begun to question whether recent efforts to root out corruption at the agency would suffer a setback, noting that he had been criticized during his term as the chief of the tax office.
Hadi Poernomo was officially installed as the new chairman of the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) at the Supreme Court on Monday.
Roy Salam, a researcher at the Indonesia Budget Center, an NGO that scrutinizes government budget decisions, said Hadi’s track record was less than encouraging.
“As former director general of the tax office, Hadi Poernomo was considered an underperformer,” Roy said. “Darmin Nasution, his successor, was the one who made the significant breakthroughs.”
Roy also questioned the support Hadi would receive from other members of the BPK, five of whom have no experience as auditors. Of the seven, four are former lawmakers.
“There is a strong political aroma to the other candidates. Many are former lawmakers who are no strangers to politics but who have no experience at the BPK or in auditing,” he said.
As the head of the BPK, Hadi will oversee audits of all state institutions, including ministries, state-owned enterprises and other traditional nests of corruption. The body is now auditing the controversial Bank Century bailout.
Herman Widyananda, a former lawmaker who was appointed to the BPK in 2007, will serve as its vice chairman.
After his inauguration, Hadi vowed to move forward with the BPK’s plan to create an electronic auditing system, a platform he said was key to making audits faster and more transparent.
He also promised to improve coordination with other auditing institutions, such as the Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP), regional audit agencies and the internal inspection offices of government ministries.
Speaking to the Jakarta Globe on Monday, Drajad Wibowo, a former lawmaker and an economist with the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), cautioned that Hadi must be able to put aside any conflicts of interest, especially when dealing with audits involving the Ministry of Finance or the tax bills of large corporations.
“As a former tax director general, Hadi knows better than most the tricks of tax evasion or obfuscation, so auditors or tax officers will find it difficult to hide something from him,” Drajad said. “But that will only work if he does not have any conflicts of interest. [ Conflicts of interest] can be about anything, because he was a tax office official under the Ministry of Finance, and these officials are not angels. But we should give him a chance.”
A native of Madura Island, East Java, Hadi served as director general of the tax office from 2001 until 2006. He was replaced by Darmin Nasution, who is now the senior deputy governor at Bank Indonesia.
During his term, Hadi was criticized for not doing enough to fight corruption at the tax office.
In 2005 an economist accused the office of costing the country about Rp 40 trillion ($4.24 billion) in lost revenue from graft.
The wealth of office officials was also questioned. (Ardian Wibisono, Muhamad Al Azhari & Dion Bisara)
Sumber: The Jakarta Globe, October 26, 2009