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Brouhaha at the Mulia

Serious Questions Surround 26-Hectare Bali Mulia Hotel Project. Were Environmental and Zoning Laws Broken? Was Building Permit Issued to Wanted Fugitive from the Law?

(9/30/2011) NusaBali reports that the Special Committee for the Refinement of the Provincial Zoning Law (Pansus Penyempurnaan Perda RTRW) and Commission I of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) have uncovered a major case of alleged misuse of power by Badung regency officials.

According to press reports, provincial legislators investigating environmental damage reports at the Hotel Mulia 26-hectare construction site in Sawangan, South Kuta have uncovered the involvement of Joko Soegiarto Tjandra, a wanted fugitive in the Bank Bali Liquidity Scandal.

Legislators and Special Committee members have reportedly received information indicating Tjandra’s financial backing in the hotel project, Tjandra, who is reportedly living in Singapore, is listed on the Indonesian Police and Interpol “wanted” list.

When a group of legislators visiting the massive site being prepared for 1,000 hotel rooms and 160 villas by PT Mulia Graha Tatalestari, they grilled the project manager, Kardani, asking if the fugitive businessman Tjandra owned the hotel project. Kardani, although initially denying Tjandra’s affiliation with the project, finally admitted Joko Tjandra’s ownership, but denying any knowledge of the man’s whereabouts.

Quoted in NusaBali, Kardani said: “This project is owned by the Tjandra family, but the current whereabouts of Joko Tjandra I don’t know. In the past, Tjandra was invited to invest here during the era of Governor Oka.”

Ida Bagus Oka, now deceased, was the governor of Bali from 1988-1998.

Of concern to legislators visiting the site is a building permit issued for the project issued in 2011 signed by the regent of Badung, Anak Agung Gede Agung,

NusaBali says reports that the authorization contained in building permit (IMB) issued in 2011 was transferred from Joko Tjandra to Viady Sutojo. Also of concern to investigators, is the project’s 2 kilometer proximity to Pura Geger, a violation of the 2009 RTRW that stipulates a minimum distance of 3 kilometers from that sacred site for any commercial development. Making matters worse, are indications that environmental rules and regulations have been ignored in the project’s construction.

The chairman of the Special Zoning Commission, legislator Wayan Disel Astawa, told the press: “If we measure the radius from the sacred temple, that is already a fatal violation. Apparently, this (project) passed the Badung regency with many violations. But, these violations were not acted upon, but instead obtained complete permission. There is no justice and there appears to be the be selective enforcement of the law for investors.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of Commission I of the DPRD-Bali, Made Arjaya, promised that the Mulia project case would be investigated thoroughly to determine how a wanted fugitive in a major case of bank fraud could be allowed to build a hotel in Bali. “How can he (Joko Tjandra) process (permits) while he is a fugitive? This is strange. This has to be investigated. There has to be an official involved who helped a wanted fugitive build a hotel. This is already leaning towards criminality,” accused Arjaya.

Cokorda Gede Budi Suryawan, another member of Commission I of the DPRD-Bali and a member of the Puri Agung Ubud royal household, the case suggest the operation of a “mafia” in how permits are issued in Badung regency. Suryawan commented: “A fugitive of the law can build a hotel in Bali? How did he process the permits? If there wasn’t an official involved, it would be impossible for the permits to be issued.” Suryawan also asked if Tjandra had managed to visit Bali, despite being a wanted fugitive by the Indonesian police.

When the chief of the Zoning Office for Badung (Dinas Cipta Karya Badung), Putu Desy Dharmayanty, was contacted by NusaBali to clarify how the building permit managed to change hands from Joko Tjandra to Viady Sutojo, a SMS reply from the official said: “Sorry. Please come to my office, I have forgotten. It was signed on the name of Viady Sutojo.”

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