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Huge financial irregularities found in Indonesia.

JAKARTA, June 13 Kyodo

Indonesia's Development Finance Comptroller has found irregularities of 166 billion rupiah ($19.5 million) among non-budgetary funds at the State Logistics Agency (Bulog), the Jakarta Post said Tuesday.

The newspaper quoted Widjanarko Puspoyo, chairman of a House of Representatives commission dealing with financial affairs, as saying Bulog's accounts at several banks show a balance of 416 billion rupiah instead of 250 billion rupiah as recorded on the agency's balance sheet.

The irregularities were disclosed after a meeting between the commission and the comptroller.

According to Widjanarko, the comptroller found the irregularities after conducting an audit on the use of Bulog nonbudgetary funds for the period between January 1998 and December 1999.

However, it is still unclear how the differences could have occurred as the comptroller was unable to conduct a comprehensive audit due to lack of information.

"We don't even know how long Bulog has managed non-budgetary funds," Widjanarko said, adding the commission and the comptroller have agreed to conduct a second audit.

Bulog was established in the late 1960s as a government agency responsible for the purchase and price stabilization of basic commodities, particularly rice.

The agency, which uses the state budget to finance itself, has accumulated trillions of rupiah from its operations and puts the funds into its own accounts.

Under the Suharto government, Bulog was one of the cash cows for the government's non-budgetary projects. Close associates of the former strongman allegedly often garnered funds from Bulog for their own businesses.

Currently, Bulog is under spotlight in connection with a loan scandal that centers around the disbursement of 35 billion rupiah from the Bulog employee foundation Yanatera and allegedly involves close associates of President Abdurrahman Wahid.

The scandal led to the resignation of Bondan Gunawan, acting state secretary and secretary of government supervision, who maintained he had nothing to do with the scam even though his name and that of Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab have been widely mentioned in connection with the scandal.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Jun 19, 2000
Words:330
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