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UNODC Talk Series addresses corruption in regional budget management and decentralization

Malang (Indonesia), 21 June 2011 - Public participation and cooperation are required to successfully combat corruption in Indonesia. This was the message of the latest UNDOC Talk Series events in the country, titled "Corruption in Regional Budget and Decentralization". The talk, hosted by the Faculty of Social and Political Science of the University of Muhammadiyah, Malang, on 31 May 2011, brought together 120 participants from the fields of academia, civil society, international organisations and media.

"Decentralization disperses corruption," warned Mr. Ismail Amir, Board Member of the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency, addressing the potential misuse of regional budgets as decentralizing efforts continue in Indonesia. The risk is particularly high when politics are combined with "a deficit of moral values at the top." The problem of implementing laws and regulations is most acute in the autonomous regions of Papua and Aceh.

Mr. Novel, an investigator at the Corruption Eradication Commission, said that "because the authority of the Commission is restricted to the law, we are to give opportunities to the community to participate in control and participate in law enforcement by means of public complaints."

The third speaker, Mr. Roy Salam, Budget Analysis and Advocacy Coordinator of the Indonesia Budget Centre, cited the weakness of sanctions and public control as a main cause for the growing proliferation of irregularities and corrupt practices in the management of state finances. "Civil society must be literate to the data and information on public policy and should be consolidated to enter into the policy-making processes," he said. "More importantly, civil society leadership must avoid cooptation and conflict of interests."

The panel of speakers also emphasized that the fight against corruption requires the effort from several sectors of society. The final speaker, Dr. Tri Sulistyaningsih, Chair of the Department of Governance Science, highlighted the importance of citizen power in maintaining checks and balances on public officials.

The event concluded with a lively question and answer session.