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Indonesia Supreme Court suspected of embezzlement

[JURIST] The Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) [official website, in Bahasa] began investigating the country's Supreme Court [official website, in Bahasa] Monday for suspected embezzlement [Jakarta Post report]. The Court collects administrative fees from appellants but has so far not accounted for the money. Late last month officials from Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) [official website, in Bahasa], an NGO that monitors government organizations for corruption, encouraged a KPK investigation [Jakarta Post report] after the Court again refused to account for its collected fees or to allow for an audit, which the group said violated the Public Finance Management Law. The investigation officially began Monday when KPK officials confiscated Supreme Court documents after the Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia (BPK) [official website] reported problems with the court's fee-collection records. The investigation is designed to check for such problems by accounting for the $3.4 million the court reportedly collected between January 2007 and March 2008. The KPK also plans to audit court bank accounts. AFP has more.

The Indonesian constitution called for the establishment of the BPK [Art. 23, s. 5 text], designed to report its audits on all government agencies to the House of Representatives. The legislature officially established [Act 5 text, in Bahasa] the agency in 1973, and in 2002 the Indonesian Assembly named the BPK the state's official independent audit department [decree, PDF, in Bahasa]. In 2007 the Supreme Court refused a BPK audit of the Court's administrative accounting records, arguing that the fees were used to cover expenses and were not state revenue. BPK officials responded that money gathered in payment for state services does constitute state revenue. In 2006 World Bank officials called judicial corruption one of the biggest challenges [JURIST report] for Indonesia, and anti-corruption group Transparency International [official website] has since said that the country is perceived as one of the most corrupt [rankings list; regional analysis, PDF] worldwide.

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