Saturday, October 11, 2008
Corruption at our Embassy in Beijing
The Attorney General Office is investigating corruption charges related to misuse of Visa, Passport & Special Travel Document fees by officials of our Embassy in Beijing between the years 2000 and 2004. According to the Assistant Attorney General for Special Crimes Marwan Effendi the corruption has caused the state to have loss the amount of 10.27 million Yuan (US$ 1.5 Million) and US$ 9,613.00. He explained that on 24 September 1999 our Ambassador there issued a decree regarding collection of the above Immigration fees, charging an applicant 55 Yuan (US$ 7.00) per Passport. However, the money did't go to the state, but go to the pockets of individuals.
When news reporters asked him to mention name of the Embassy's officials, Marwan declined by saying that the investigation is still underway. According to The Jakarta Post, between the years 1999 and 2004, our Ambasadors serving in Beijing were Leut.Gen.(Ret) Kuntara, and Rear Admiral (Ret) Anak Agung Kustia.
Meanwhile, MetroTV reported that our current Ambassador to Beijing Sudradjat has stated that he will give full support to the investigation.
It is very sad to hear about the corruption that took place at our embassy in Beijing as well as previous reports of corruption by our embassy officials in other countries, considering that the officials are representatives of our country who were provided with Diplomatic privileges & immunities. Let us hope that the investigations and legal proceedings that have been carried out would serve as lessons for other officials of our embassies around the world, so that the image of our country would not be marred any further. But above all, let us hope that the principle of Presumption of Innocence would be upheld in the handling of this case.