Social Assistance Is Corrupted, COVID-19 Tests Are Capitalized: People's Bad Luck Is In The Hands Of Officials
Photo illustration (Source: Antara)

JAKARTA - The situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia may be easing numerically. But behind that other unfortunate stories in the context of public and government relations are developing. In the past, a minister corrupted the social assistance fund (bansos). Now two ministers are reportedly taking advantage of our need for COVID-19 tests as a business area.

They are Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment (Menkomarves) Luhut Binsar Panjaitan and Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) Erick Thohir, who are said to be playing in the COVID-19 test business, both PCR and Antigen. This news surfaced was triggered by the statement of former Director of Publication and Public Education of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHY) Agustinus Edy Kristianto.

Not only Luhut and Erick. Edy also indicated the names of other ministers. So Luhut and Erick's involvement in the COVID-19 test business is because their names are included in the establishment of a COVID-19 test service provider company, PT Genomik Solidaritas Indonesia (GSI).

According to Edy, PT GSI was born from PT Toba Bumi Energi and PT Toba Sejahtra, a subsidiary of PT TBS Energi Utama Tbk, which Luhut owns a small part of. In addition, there is also PT Adaro Bangun Negeri Foundation in the establishment of PT GSI. PT Adaro Bangun Negeri Foundation, as it is known, is under PT Adaro Energy Tbk, whose 6.18 percent stake is owned by Erick Thohir's younger brother, Boy Thohir.

"Use common sense. A Coordinating Minister for Marives serves concurrently as the Coordinator of PPKM. He is at the helm in terms of COVID-19 policies and investment. Then a Minister of SOEs is concurrently Chair of the Covid-19 Handling Team and National Economic Recovery (PEN)."

"The Minister of Health is a former Deputy Minister of State-Owned Enterprises. However, the minister is apparently affiliated with PT Genomics Solidaritas Indonesia," Edy said on his Facebook account, quoted by VOI, Wednesday, November 3.

What is wrong?
Officers perform a swab test (Source: Antara)

"The state cannot do business with its people," said Trisakti University public policy analyst Trubus Rahadiansyah to VOI, Wednesday, November 3.

Trubus' statement refers to MPR Decree Number VI/MPR/2001. This stipulation regulates the ethics of national life, including the ethics of state administrators.

"The rules are indeed not allowed. That's the ethics of state administrators. There is a TAP MPR which is the ethics of state administrators. State officials are not allowed to do business,"

"The basis is the 1945 Constitution, that the state cannot do business with its people. Who is this country? Of course the government. The government is ministerial officials," Trubus told VOI, Wednesday, November 3.

This MPR stipulation has legal force that binds all state administrators. It is explained about the Ethics of National Life that political and government ethics must meet the element of honesty. State officials must also be trustworthy, sporty, and have a big heart to serve.

In addition, state officials must also have exemplary, humility, and be ready to resign from political office if they are proven to have made mistakes or violations. This context must be considered in the case of Luhut and Erick.

"There are no serious consequences. This official was appointed by the president. Otherwise, he resigned," Trubus said.

Other names behind PT GSI

In his explanation, Edy detailed a list of other companies and the proportion of their shares in PT GSI. The largest was PT Indika For Indonesia Foundation, with 932 pieces. PT Adaro Bangun Negeri Foundation is in second place with 485 sheets.

The third company with the most shares is the Northstar Bhakti Persada Foundation, which has 242 shares. Furthermore, PT Anarya Kreasi Nusantara (242 pieces), PT Modal Ventura YCAB (242 pieces), and PT Perdana Multi Kasih (242 pieces).

PT Toba Bumi Energi and PT Toba Sejahtera also equally own 242 shares. The smallest ownership is held by PT Kartika Bina Medikatama with one hundred shares. The Indika For Indonesia Foundation is linked to PT Indika Energy Tbk, a company led by the General Chairman of KADIN Arsjad Rasjid as President Director.

Then, the Northstar Bhakti Persada Foundation was linked to the Northstar Group, which is under the leadership of Patrick Walujo, a banker and son-in-law of TP Rachmat. Patrick leads the company with Glenn Sugita, who is the founder of the foundation.

Officers perform a swab test (Source: Antara)

Patrick is also listed as a shareholder of Gojek-Tokopedia (Go-To), PT Trimegah Sekuritas Indonesia Tbk, PT Centratama Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk, PT Blue Bird Tbk, PT Sumber Alfaria Trijaya, and PT Bank Jago Tbk.

"It's all clearly a business. The legal entity is only PT. The goal of the PT is profit! Remember, it's not a matter of people being banned from doing business, but first see who is in the business."

"It is very immoral to use public office as an entry point for doing business, taking advantage of the pandemic period that is troubling the people," Edy said.

Previously, the Civil Society Coalition for Health and Justice also reported allegations that there were more than Rp. 23 trillion in circulation in the PCR test business in Indonesia. The total profit potential is predicted to reach more than Rp 10 trillion.

This civil society coalition consists of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), Lokataru, and LaporCovid-19.

A small opportunity in the narrowness of COVID

Trisakti University public policy analyst Trubus Rahadiansyah highlighted the potential conflicts of interest between state officials, policymakers, and their business interests.

"In taking the policy, like it or not, the interests of themselves and their groups come in. The names of the policy makers must also have their interests attached," Trubus said.

This is ironic, of course. While many people are desperately trying to survive the destructive impact of COVID-19, state officials are taking advantage.

The precedent is more extreme about how state officials took advantage of the COVID-19 chaos that occurred in the corruption case of social assistance funds (bansos) by former Minister of Social Affairs (Mensos) Juliari Batubara.

Juliari was named a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on December 6, 2020 after being caught in a hand arrest operation (OTT) one day earlier. This case began when the government established a social assistance fund program for handling COVID-19.

Corruptor of the social assistance fund Juliari Batubara (Source: Antara)

In the program, the government allocates basic food packages through the Ministry of Social Affairs with a value of Rp5.9 trillion. This figure is accompanied by the signing of 272 contracts and carried out in two periods.

At that time, Juliari appointed Matheus and Adi as Commitment Making Officers (PPK) for the project. Appointments are made directly.

For each social assistance package, Matheus and Adi agreed on a fee of IDR 10,000 from a value of IDR 300 thousand per social assistance package. From May to November 2020, Matheus and Adi made work contracts with several suppliers as partners.

Long story short, from this evil conspiracy, Juliari received Rp17 billion. The money was entirely used for Juliari's personal needs.

Juliari is suspected of violating Article 12 letter a or Article 12 letter b or Article 11 of Law (UU) Number 31 of 1999 concerning the Eradication of Criminal Acts of Corruption as amended by Law Number 20 of 2001 concerning Amendments to Law Number 31 of 1999 concerning Eradication Corruption Crimes Jo Article 55 paragraph 1 to 1 of the Criminal Code.

Luhut and Erick's clarification

When contacted by VOI, Spokesperson for Menkomarves Jodi Mahardi regretted the attempt to frame Luhut. Jodi said Luhut's news about the PCR business has the potential to cause those who want to help to think twice.

"Yes, that's how it is when an individual has his heart and mind wanting to bring down other people. People who want to do good are also beaten by all means," said Jodi, Tuesday, November 2.

Jodi also explained that the groups that claimed to be in the PCR business were large groups whose businesses were already well established. They are also a very strong company in the energy sector. That's why Jodi said GSI's goal is not profit for the shareholders.

Menkomarves Luhut Binsar Panjaitan (Source: Antara)

"As the name implies, GSI is Genomics of Indonesian Solidarity, indeed for social entrepreneurship ... Pak Luhut's participation in GSI is part of your efforts to help deal with the pandemic in the early days, apart from the donation of PCR test kits and reagents given to medical faculties in several campuses. Pak Luhut also helped Nusantics, one of the startups in the field of bioscience, to make PCR reagents made by the nation's children which are currently produced by Biofarma."

Jodi also emphasized that PT GSI had never cooperated with BUMN or siphoned off funds from the government. Instead, GSI conducts genome- sequencing for free to help the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes).

When VOI reconfirmed Jodi's explanation that the news of Luhut's involvement in the PCR business was slander, he agreed. However, Jodi implied that he would not take this matter to law.

"He is in the category of slander. Mr. Luhut is used to being slandered. Let the Almighty take revenge," said Jodi.

Meanwhile, Erick's side was represented by Arya Sinulingga, a special staff of the Minister. Arya explained that since becoming a minister, Erick was no longer active in business matters. He also asked those who said Erick was involved in the PCR business to investigate and clarify.

"So it's very far from being involved or associated with Mr. Erick Thohir ... Moreover, it is said that the PCR business is very far away. So don't be tendentious like that, we have to see everything more clearly," said Arya.

SOE Minister Erick Thohir (Source: Antara)

Arya also includes data showing that PCR tests in Indonesia have reached 28.4 million throughout Indonesia. Meanwhile, PT GSI has only made 700 thousand. Arya's point is that PT GSI's dominance of profits is very small when compared to the total number of PCR tests in Indonesia.

"While PT Genomik Solidaritas Indonesia or GSI, which was associated with Mr. Erick, carried out 700,000 PCR tests. So it can be said that only 2.5 percent of the total PCR tests have been carried out in Indonesia ... So the other 97.5 percent were carried out by other parties,” Arya.

“The provisions regarding PCR have never been issued by KBUMN. And so far, the government has never issued an obligation to carry out PCR tests that designate certain labs, except of course those that comply with the standards set by the Ministry of Health," he said.

*Read other information about COVID-19 or read other interesting articles from Yudhistira Mahabharata.

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