By Schabir Shaik
Jun 27, 2007, 09:48
Ninety five percent seems a massive percentage to claim is stolen when there is so little media coverage to indicate this, but just look at the facts, especially regarding Aceh and you will see. After the December 26th 2004 devastating earthquake and resultant tsunami which originated off the Sumatran coast and hit Banda Aceh Province the hardest with waves up to 30 meters in height, the international community poured billions of dollars into aid programs to help the people of that area rebuild; 2.5 years on, many Acehnese victims are still living in tents without mains sewerage, water or electricity and people are finally asking where all the money has gone.
The answer seems to be Singapore in that as the Singaporeans joke, whenever Indonesia gets large aid grants and donations, the number of Indonesian millionaires that move to Singapore goes up; the inference being they are putting themselves out of potential risk of prosecution. Both after the Bali bombings and especially after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, the number of Indonesian millionaires residing in Singapore went up dramatically. This is the reason why the Indonesian Government was so keen to get an extradition treaty with Singapore, which both nations signed in Bali this year along with a military exercise agreement allowing Singapore to conduct naval exercises in Indonesian territorial waters; unfortunately the real power in Indonesia, the military (TNI) made sure the military exercise agreement was not ratified and with it went the extradition treaty.
So how do Indonesians filter charity money away made by foreign governments, international bodies like the UN and World Bank, and also personal donations? It is really very simple and well known since the Suharto era; he is claimed to be the master of theft via charitable institutions. What generally government ministers, bank officials and local officials do is form charitable institutions themselves personally, which they then award large sums to as ministers / officials, then run off with the money without a single cent going to the cause intended. This is how Suharto is alleged to have amassed his billions and become one of the wealthiest people on the planet; basically stealing from the money donated by foreigners to the needy of Indonesia.
It is a fact that after the Bali terrorist bombings a number of so called charities collected large sums of money for the victims yet the money was never accounted for. Many Indonesian and for that matter Balinese charities provide audited accounts which are nowhere near as detailed as they would have to be if they were operating a charity in say Australia, Britain or the USA. Generic entries which often mean “salaries” and “expenses” appear. Often these charities act as middlemen and allocate the donations they receive to actual charitable projects, after "costs" of course. Many so called “Round Table” charities are alleged to exist solely for personal advancement and benefit within the local community, plus some jolly nice fund raising dinners, horrah! Basically, a large percentage of what decent, caring foreigners donate to Balinese and Indonesian charities in the belief all of it gets put to good use actually gets filtered off one way or another.
Not only is the money we donate stolen, but the Indonesian Government is hardly welcoming to aid workers once they have the money inside their nasty nation; of course Jakarta has no hesitation in asking for financial aid in the first place though. Not so long ago we reported how foreign governments were required to specify exactly how long emergency earthquake relief workers would be in Indonesia and foreign military aircraft performing emergency airlifts had to be accompanied by Indonesian TNI members, sometimes preventing them from flying, always reducing the amount of cargo they could then carry. Foreign aid workers have been the subject of demonstrations in Jakarta claiming them to be foreign spies. In the past aid workers have been murdered under questionable circumstances implicating the Indonesian military, such as an event in West Papua when two American teachers were shot dead and which Bali’s least favorite cop, Made Pastika is accused of by many as covering up.
Of course cover-ups are not the exclusive domain of former Bali police chief Pastika, they come from the very top as well. Recently President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pardoned Suharto of any corruption he committed, while corruption continues to increase under “SBY”, the man who pledged to fight corruption in the presidential election he won, clearly with Suharto’s help and seemingly on the basis of a promise. Things are only getting worse and worse in Indonesia. The special corruption court has been closed down by the Indonesian House of Representatives, reckoned to be the most corrupt body in Indonesia. The so called KPK Corruption Eradication Commission have proven themselves to be nothing more than a witch hunt mechanism for the powerful Golkar party. More and more people get rich off foreign goodwill and at the expense of desparate Indonesians.
So we and even our aid workers are not welcome, just our money is and when we give it, it gets stolen. We say the time has come for all decent people of the world to stop donating money to Bali and Indonesia and not resume again until a) Suharto has his pardon repealed and is forced to face all due corruption and other charges, b) Indonesia ensures all charities have their funding placed in protective accounts and that at least 90% of what they get reaches the intended beneficiaries, and c) full audited accounts by respectable western auditors (not some just made up company in Jakarta) are provided online. Otherwise, for every dollar you give for charitable causes in Bali / Indonesia, no matter whether you pay it direct, through taxes, through international aid organizations or however, we are sure 95 cents of your dollar will end up in the personal bank account of someone you really would not like it too. Please, stop sending money to Bali and Indonesia, anything you send is almost certain to have a negative effect.