"We want to start cleaning up our own house", says Indonesian President
by Mathias Hariyadi
Jakarta sets up a special team to fight fraud and abuse in government bureaucracy.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The Indonesian government has set up a special corps to fight corruption in both public and private sectors.

Faced with accusations that he was not doing enough, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on April 3 approved the creation of the Corruption Eradication Coordination Team, a 51-member group led by Hendarman Supandji, the Deputy Attorney General in the Special Crimes Section.

The Team will investigate all abuses in the public sector and report directly to the President on a monthly basis.

In addition, Attorney General Abdurrahman Saleh, the chief national police and the chairman of the development finance controller, will serve as the Team's special advisers.

President Susilo made corruption eradication a key element in the campaign that saw him elected six months ago.

Only last week, he announced a crackdown in the State's Secretariat Office, the cabinet's Secretariat Office, and in the State Palace's Office as well as in scores of state-owned enterprises and some ministries.

"We want to start cleaning up our own house", Mr Susilo said. "We'll see whether there are violations, losses of assets or misuse of money".

"It is important to ask the people [. . .] to eradicate corruption, but we must start with ourselves and clean up our own houses," he said after meeting with ministers to discuss the government's anti-graft campaign last week

Indonesians reacted with enthusiasm to the news that an anti-corruption team was being set up. They are hopeful that with the assistance of other institutions like the police, the Attorney General Office and financial auditing agencies the state budget can be brought under control.

Attempts so far to pursue corrupted officials had failed as a result of poor coordination between police and the Attorney General; they had also failed because officials in the auditing agencies received kickbacks for making 'peaceful concessions' to businessmen and companies.

Many Indonesians view Susilo's initiative as a serious political commitment to fighting this widespread scourge in the public service.

The latest success in Jakarta's anti-corruption campaign came when Abdullah Puteh, governor of Aceh, and several officials in the Transportation Ministry were sentenced on corruption charges.

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