Thursday, 8 October 2009

Most business players pay bribes: Survey

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Thu, 10/08/2009

A survey by Transparency International has revealed Indonesian business players are deeply entrenched in corruption, with 60 percent of respondents admitting to paying bribes to ensure the smooth outcome of projects.

The survey is part of the 2009 Global Corruption Report on the private sector, and surveyed 2,700 businesspeople in 26 countries across the globe in 2008.

"We discovered 60 percent of those entrepreneurs from the private sectors had to bribe the relevant authorities and public institutions," Transparency International Indonesia secretary-general Teten Masduki said Wednesday at a press conference in Jakarta.

The survey also found one in five businesspeople had lost out on projects because they refused to bribe officials, while two in five said officials at public institutions had directly asked for money.

In Indonesia, the survey only covered respondents engaging in the aviation and logging industry.

The aviation industry was chosen based on the assumption that regulatory neglect, coupled with bribery, had undermined passenger safety, as indicated by various fatal accidents that led to Indonesian airlines being banned from European Union airspace.

The ban was imposed in July 2007 and lifted in July 2009.

A study under the report heard testimonies saying all matters regarding certificates in the aviation industry, including operating permits, pilot license extensions, increasing pilot ratings and even airplane airworthiness, could be resolved by paying a bribe.

"Even if all the conditions are met, you still have to fork over some money," said an anonymous source quoted in the report.

The forestry industry was scrutinized for the fact that illegal logging had made Indonesia the world's fastest destroyer of forests, with 1.87 million hectares of forests cleared every year between 2000 and 2005.

The report said the building of political connections between illegal logging syndicates and local officials had become obvious, highlighting the direct involvement of unscrupulous officials in the trade of illegal logs.

Political corruption in the issuing of licenses and concessions for logging was also apparent as shown by the arrest of Bintan regency secretary Azirwan and legislator Al Amin Nasution in April 2008, which led to the men being jailed for 30 months and eight years respectively, for conspiring to regulate concessions for personal benefit.

Teten said businesspeople pay "not only with cash, but also with political support for those in power".

Soy Martua Pardede, a member of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said businesspeople had to bribe officials because they had long been forced to do so, citing "the business environment". (naf)