Guest blog by Indonesia Corruption Watch
Much of the public resources are spent through public procurement. There are many cases of corruption in this sector in Indonesia. Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Commissioner, Alexander Marwata, has stated that 80% of corruption cases processed in his office are predominantly procurement cases. Data published between 2010 and 2017 by Indonesia Corruption Watch revealed that, on average, 30% of corruption cases are procurement cases.
In Indonesia, procurement data are relatively open and accessible through official government websites. However, the question remains: how do people use this information to really scrutinize public service delivery? In other words, how to translate this transparency into accountability?
ICW has been developing an instrument called OpenTender to help people to monitor public procurement in Indonesia. The tool can analyze all e-procurement data in Indonesia and provides a risk score between 1 and 20 for each project. The score is in direct proportion with the risk of fraud and corruption.
Indonesian local civil society organisations (CSOs) in several regions have initiated OpenTender-based advocacy, including one CSO in the Manado municipality. The Citizens Committee to Eradicate Corruption (KRPK) in Blitar used the analysis from opentender.net to report a red-flagged school construction to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in 2017. Subsequently, the anti-corruption body arrested the Regent in Blitar as well as a neighboring Regent in a related case.
Aside from civil society, OpenTender also provided preliminary data for journalists to initiate investigative reports on procurement projects. In 2016, journalists from Sulawesi used OpenTender to identify fraud cases in various projects including cattle procurement in Jeneponto, athletes’ meals in Kendari, procurement of transportation for members of the parliament in Manado, and procurement of hand tractors across South Sulawesi. The fraud practices ranged from fictitious projects to products that vanished, to products chosen based primarily on the appearance.
For local governments, OpenTender has also been introduced as a reference for local inspectorate offices to monitor public procurement or initiate internal audits in their regions. These practices showcase how open information and use of technology is not enough – public participation at all levels is key to good public service delivery.