Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan should have known beforehand about the plan to install an elevator at his official residence in Menteng, Central Jakarta, a senior Home Ministry official has said in response to a recent controversy over the issue.
The Rp 2.43 billion (US$182,736) renovation of the two-story house, which is classified as a cultural heritage, has recently been in the media spotlight. Anies decided on Thursday to scrap the Rp 750.2 million budgeted for the elevator’s installation at the center of the controversy.
The Home Ministry’s acting director general for regional budget supervision, Syarifuddin, said his office did not see the budget for procuring the elevator when reviewing the draft 2018 city budget.
“[This was] Because the procurement is under another budget allocation,” Syarifuddin said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com, adding that the elevator was subsumed within the renovation budget for the governor’s residence.
“The draft budget had been approved by the City Council. So, from the normative aspect, the council should have known about [the budget], as well as [the governor], since he signed it,” said Syarifuddin. He suggested, however, that neither the governor nor the City Council was expected to have memorized every item on the budget.
Earlier, Anies had claimed he knew nothing about the elevator’s procurement, and stressed that he had not been directed to that particular budgetary item.
“Hence, [the elevator] should not be installed and it will be scrapped in the revised city budget,” Anies said.
The elevator’s procurement falls under the Jakarta Spatial Planning Agency’s budget. Agency head Benny Agus Chandra said the idea behind the installation of an elevator was to facilitate people with disabilities who visited the governor’s residence.
City secretary Saefullah said the procurement was a clerical error that occurred when the item was carried over from a previous budget, and that Anies had not been informed about it.