Doubts Cast Over Illegal Levy Taskforce

TEMPO.COJakarta – Ahmad Alamsyah Saragih, a commissioner of the Indonesian Ombudsman expressed his concerns about the effectiveness of the special taskforce on illegal levies in eradicating the illicit practices. Alamsyah asserted that the taskforce will only be effective in three to six months. “It would be more like a shock therapy,” Alamsyah said to Tempo on Sunday, October 16, 2016.

Alamsyah added that previously, the Indonesian Ombudsman had released a report in illegal levy practices, which the government followed up by promises of improvements. “The number of reports did decline, for a while, but later increases, even more that previous numbers,” Alamsyah said.

Alamsyah said that the most effective way to reduce illegal levies is by improving government institutions’ internal systems. Alamsyah suggested each directorate general to improve its governance.

In addition, Alamsyah suggested that leader of a government institution should also be held responsible for illegal levies in his/her institution. “If there are illegal levies in an institution, the leader should also receive sanctions,” Alamsyah said.

Meanwhile, Bambang Soesatyo, Chief of Commission III of the House of Representatives said that the key to eradicating illegal levies is consistency. Bambang said that the government should set high target to guarantee the success of illegal levies eradication.

Recently, the government had established a special taskforce to eradicate illegal levies. The move was made following a sting operation against Transportation Ministry officials caught collecting illegal levies last Tuesday, October 11, 2016.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, who is responsible for the taskforce, said that he will make plans to monitor possible illegal levy practices.

“The government will monitor the development of the taskforce within certain periods,” Wiranto said.