Sri Mulyani : No more corruption in Taxation Directorate General

“There would be no more corruption in the Taxation Directorate General,” Finance Minister Sri Mulyani has said.

The statement is more an expression of strong will than a promise as the minister, even with the strong back-up from the President and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), could not alone free the institution from the evil of greed.

Sri Mulyani herself has said officials have committed corruption not by necessity but more by greed.

When the government is in high gear to increase tax revenues through its tax amnesty program and preparing new tax data base, a tax official was arrested by the KPK.

The finance minister disgustedly expressed disappointment with what the official had allegedly committed, saying “It is a betrayal of the principle of good governance.” .

Handang Soekarno (HS), head of law enforcement sub directorate of the Taxation Directorate General, was nabbed by KPK on charge of graft, accepting a bribe money from a businessman.

Handang and the briber R Rajamohanan Nair (RRN), a director of PT EK Prima Ekspor Indonesia (EKP), were caught red handed with Rp1.9 billion cash in the hands Handang by the anti graft agency.

The taxation directorate general already had bad reputation of being rampant with corruption. An example of high profile tax scandal was one involving middle ranking tax official Gayus HP Tambunan now serving a 30 year jail term.

Sri Mulyani thanked KPK for the help in uprooting corruption in the institution .

“We already said that it is time for improvement, otherwise, there would be internal action or external action by other institution,” she said.

She repeated there should be no corruption in the finance ministry especially in the taxation directorate genera.

She said she would strengthen and tighten control, and evaluation would be made of all employees to prevent more case like one involving Handang.

What Handang has allegedly committed is against the principles of good governance, which the finance ministry including the taxation directorate general have tried to implant in the institutions, she repeated.

She said the Inspectorate General of the Finance Ministry cooperated KPK leading to the arrested of Handang and his briber.

“The first information came from us. There are units of watch dog at the ministry that provide the tip-off for KPK,” she said.

The minister pledged improvement in the system of recruitment of employees and taxation system such as import duties and excises to reduce corruption.

She acknowledged there was still weaknesses in law enforcement and control especially in auditing and tax collection, in which most of the cases of corruption had been committed.

Therefore, there is plan to strengthen information technology system that there would be less interaction between tax officers and tax payers, she said.

If interaction is needed between tax payers and tax officers such as necessitated by further auditing, a standard operating procedure would be set that control would continue to be effective, she added.

Reviewing Remuneration

The minister said she would review the presidential regulation (Perpres) No 37 of 2015 on remuneration for tax officers that proved futile in improving performance of tax collectors.

“I promise to make correction of the Perpres, that the incentives are not like they are, especially incentives for third echelons, who make contacts with tax payers. We already have feedback that we could use,” the minister said.

She said there would be “reward and punishment” for the performance of tax officers and customs and excise officers.

“I never hesitated to take action . In the case of Gayus, I dismissed all heads of units and director. I would not act arbitrarily. We will take into account the maximum punishment and any wrong signals have to be dealt. Good performance is entitled to reward,” she said.

Chronology of Handang Arrest

KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo gave the chronology of the arrest of Handang and his briber last month in the district of Kemayoran, Jakarta.

Handang and his briber R Rajamohanan Nair were nabbed and Handangs driver and adjutant in the same place. Three subordinates of Rajamohanan Nair were picked up by KPK from their respective houses in Tangerang and Surabaya in the same night .

Handang was arrested after receiving the bribe money of Rp1.9 billion at the house of Rajamohanan Nair in the Springhill Residences, Kemayoran. He and his driver and adjutant were grabbed by the KPK officers when they came out of the house.

The KPK officers then entered the house to arrest Rajamohanan Nair to be brought to the KPK office for investigation.

If found guilty Rajamohanan Nair is facing a jail term of 5 years with a fine of up to Rp250 million. Handang is facing a jail term of 20 years with a fine of up to Rp1 billion.

Sri Mulyani said she believed there are still many tax officials having high integrity to serve the people despite the alleged rampant corruption besetting the institution.

She said she is set to clean the institution from corrupt officials to regain the public confidence.

“We will consistently tell the tax payers and the people that we will continue our clean up campaign inside the taxation directorate general and move against tax evasion,” she said.

Source: Antara News