Tourism Department Probed over Corruption Claim
The Bali Times
BALI Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has despatched a special team to investigate allegations of corruption at the Tourism Department after receiving a letter from an anonymous civil servant detailing embezzlement of cash meant to fund promotions at international travel fairs.
The letter, signed with the pseudonym I Made Sumardana and claiming to come from a member of staff at the Tourism Department, was also sent to other government officials, and to a local newspaper. It names a senior tourism official – whose initials, IG PA, have been made public – as instrumental in the alleged corruption.
“I wrote this letter because public money is being corrupted on a grand scale by greedy officials,” the letter states.
During 2008 a team was sent to promote Bali at the World Travel Market, an international tourism industry road show in London. The cost of renting a stand at the event – around US$12,000 – was met by the Culture and Tourism Ministry. However, the letter alleges that the same amount was also budgeted by the Bali Tourism Department and that these funds were then stolen by corrupt officials.
According to the whistleblower this method of budgeting for international tourism promotion activities already paid for by the national government was used to embezzle around Rp3 billion ($ 320,000) between 2002 and 2008. Fake receipts with forged signatures were usually provided to account for the funds, but following the 2008 London World Trade Market event IG PA is alleged to have mistakenly signed the falsified documents in his own name.
Photocopies of these receipts were enclosed with the anonymous letter.
In response to the allegations Governor Pastika ordered the formation of a special team, which began investigations on Monday. They have already interviewed IG PA.
Confirming that his department was being investigated, head of tourism in Bali I Bagus Kade Subhiksu urged the media and the public to be patient.
“We don’t want any polemics; let the team from the governor do their work first. It’s better to wait than to accuse people without evidence,” he said, adding that the alleged embezzlements had taken place before he joined the department. “I wasn’t serving at the time, so I’m not too clear about the issue,” he said.
Made Jendra of the Bali government’s public relations and protocol bureau said on Monday said that the matter would be thoroughly investigated.
“We’re serious about looking into these corruption allegations. We’re even perfectly happy if the media want to be critical in revealing allegations of financial impropriety in the government,” he said.Filed under: Headlines