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Governor Calls for End to Project Kickbacks

Warning Anti-Corruption Teams are Headed this Way, Governor Pastika Calls for an End to All Project Fees. Also Threatens Jail to People Drilling Illegal Water Wells.

(12/20/2008) Bali's Governor Made Mangku Pastika recently shocked a provincial budget meeting attended by ranking island officials and regional planning staff by calling for an end to all "project fees and "kickbacks" popularly imposed on local development activities.

Quoted in Radar Bali, Pastika said: "I asked that project fees, both those that are obvious and those that are hidden, stop. If there are those still imposing such fees, I ask that they get back on track."

Radar Bali said the Governor's instruction brought the officials in attendance to stunned silence. This silence reportedly only deepened when Pastika said that the National Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) will descend on Bali in 2009, warning: "In early 2009, the KPK will come to Bali. I was told this would happen when I recently attended a national governors' meeting in Jakarta."

When reporters asked Governor Pastika if there was actual proof that fees were being paid, he replied that while he had no definite proof, he was passing along the cautionary advice given to him and his fellow governors in Jakarta. Adding: “My recommendation is a general one given to me by KPK at the governors' meeting. If it (such fees) do exist in Bali, well, don't let such charges happen again."

The charging of both "official" and "non-official" project fees is commonplace in Indonesia.

Action against Illegal Wells Promised

At the same meeting held on December 13, 2008, Pastika also promised to take strong action of those who sink illegal water wells in Bali. As reported on balidiscovery.com, [See: Unauthorized Wells Rampant in Bali] unauthorized wells are blamed for the increasing problem of salt water intrusion into Bali's water table. Pastika pledged to arrest the owner's of the illegal wells early in 2009. Violators holding illegal well sites are in violation of local tax regulations, public works rules, and local planning guidelines.

Pastika also used the meeting to met out a dosage of humiliation to his own executive staff for taking too much time in carrying out his directives. He told the meeting that two weeks ago he told his staff to write to the island’s regents and mayors directing them to bring illegal wells owners into line. To the cynical applause of the meeting, Pastika said that drafting such a letter should take only 2 hours, but until now (2 weeks later) the subject letter had yet to presented for his signature.

Pastika told the group that better enforcement of water rules is necessary not only to increase tax revenues, but also to prevent Bali from becoming a desert devoid of fresh water.