Officials from a South Jakarta junior high school have continued to defy orders to reveal how they spent operational funding from the government from 2007 to 2009.
The South Jakarta District Court had earlier given the principal of State Junior High School (SMPN) No. 67 until Wednesday to submit to a request filed by antigraft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch under the Freedom of Information Law (KIP) to publish the information about the spending.
However, ICW lawyer David Tobing said on Wednesday that no officials from the school had turned up at the courthouse to submit the information as ordered.
“They should have been here today to meet with the court’s chief judge [Suhartoyo], but they didn’t show up,” he said.
He added that the court had given the school another week to comply.
SMPN 67 is among a host of schools in Jakarta that have drawn criticism from antigraft watchdogs about a lack of transparency in their spending of School Operational Aid (BOS) funds distributed by the central government.
The other schools are SMPN 190, SMPN 95, SMPN 84 and SMPN 28.
The schools came under scrutiny after the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) reported in 2010 that of the combined Rp 5 billion ($519,000) in BOS funding that they received from 2007 to 2009, up to Rp 1.2 billion could not be accounted for.
Febri Hendri, an ICW researcher, said that his organization’s request to obtain the schools’ spending reports through the KIP was unprecedented.
“This is the first case in the country in which there is an attempt to enforce the KIP,” he said.
“We hope that the officials of SMPN 67 and the other schools will voluntarily comply and come forward with the requested information.”
He added that if they schools insisted on flouting the court order, ICW would report them to the police for deliberately withholding the release of public information. Febri added that the offense carried a jail sentence of up to five months.
The BOS, ostensibly meant to help schools cover their overhead costs without levying extra fees from students, has frequently been cited by watchdogs as being prone to embezzlement and misuse.
The schools’ defiance to account for the missing money comes as the Jakarta administration prepares to roll out a program that will see even more funding released to schools.
JakartaGlobe December 13, 2012