Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sutiyoso, agency culpable for owed money, workers say

Saturday, January 27, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Jakarta Health Agency has denied a police report made Friday by some of its employees that they are owed a total of Rp 1.3 billion in training and education payments.

Agency head Wibowo Sukijat said no money had been allocated for the on-the-job training of its officials.

"There was no such fund. We have already settled this problem and it was understood that there was no case because the money never existed," he said as quoted by Antara.

Three health workers on Thursday went to the the city police headquarters to file embezzlement charges against Governor Sutiyoso and Abdul Chalik Masulili, the former head of the city health agency.

The three claimed they represented 100 health officials who were entitled to training and education related to their duties.

"The money should have been disbursed as allowances for the 100 health workers," Wagini, a health worker from Ciracas community health center, told police.

Wagini and her colleagues, Yunita and Rosna Manurung, said they turned to police after failing to resolve the issue with the related parties, to try to recoup the owed money.

She said that in 2002, the city health agency had sent 100 health workers from two city hospitals and public health clinics on three-year residencies to Jayakarta Nursing Academy and Kimia 17 Nursing Academy.

They encountered no problems in the first two years. In the third year, however, funding for field work and their graduation ceremony, which had been approved by the agency, did not come through.

In September 2005, Lutfi, the head of the agency's education and training unit, asked the 100 workers to pay their own way, promising they would later be reimbursed.

Yunita estimated that each worker was owed more than Rp 12 million (about US$1,318).

On July 27, 2006, the health workers met with health agency officials, the city supervisory body, and the education and training unit, who told them there had been no budget for the fieldwork or the graduation ceremony.

At the end of the meeting, they were asked to sign a statement agreeing not to raise the issue again, Yunita said.

The officials' refusal to cover the costs of the fieldwork and the graduation ceremony runs contrary to a 2003 gubernatorial decree, which stipulates that the cost of every study assignment is the responsibility of the administration.

"We reported the governor because he is the one who signed the decree. He should be held responsible for any errors in its implementation," Yunita said.

They had earlier tried to raise the issue with a number of parties, including the City Council, but to no avail. They had also attempted to meet with Sutiyoso but his guards turned them away.

Yunita said they had been mocked and threatened by their superiors.

"You can judge the case for yourself. There were a hundred victims but only a few of us want to fight for our rights. As a civil servant, I too am afraid, but have suffered much. It is for this reason alone that I am willing to speak out." (02)

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