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Politician pleads ignorance on Lapindo funds

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Pramono Anung Wibowo of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has claimed that most lawmakers were caught off guard with the inclusion of Rp 155 billion (US$15.6 million) in the revised state budget to pay for the mitigation effort in the Lapindo mudflow disaster in Sidoarjo, East Java.

“Honestly, I only found out about this during the political lobbying process,” Pramono said on Wednesday.

In the revised state budget, which was approved earlier this week by the House, the government allocated Rp 155 billion for the Sidoarjo Mudflow Handling Agency (BPLS) to cope with the disaster, caused by exploration conducted by oil and gas company PT Minarak Lapindo Jaya, which is controlled by the family of Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie.

Pramono said that most lawmakers were preoccupied with the debate over the fuel-price plan and missed the budget allocation for Lapindo.

It has been claimed that the money was compensation by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for Golkar’s support for his fuel plan.

© The Jakarta Post | 20 June 2013

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