New rule bars officials
from receiving wedding

A recent agreement by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the graft-ridden Religious Affairs Ministry has ruled that any Religious Affairs Office (KUA) officials receiving wedding gratuities from soon-to-be-married couples will be charged with corruption.

KPK director for gratuities Giri Supradiono, who gave details about the establishment of the new rule, said on Wednesday that its investigation into the Religious Affairs Ministry had found that KUA officials had collected illegal levies from couples because the government had not paid them enough.

“The government must provide an honorarium and transportation fees for KUA officials. The incentive is more than enough for them. If couples in the future find officials asking for additional costs for their services, they can file reports to the law enforcement institutions; such conduct, according to the new rule, is considered a crime,” Giri said at the KPK headquarters on Wednesday.

Giri said that the KPK and the Religious Affairs Ministry had run a public campaign about the new regulation.

Giri further said that the new agreement barred the Religious Affairs Ministry from charging people for registering their wedding at the KUA.

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“For couples who want to get married outside of the KUA, they are required to pay Rp 600,000 [US$48] to the KUA for every marriage registration. Each KUA official officiating wedding vows outside of their offices will receive additional bonuses from their office ranging from Rp 125,000 to Rp 500,000 taken from the Rp 600,000 registration fee,” Giri said, adding that the wedding bonuses for officials varied depending on the region.

Separately, inspector general of the Religious Affairs Ministry M. Jasin said that couples must directly transfer the Rp 600,000 wedding registration fee to the bank accounts of the respective KUA, not directly to the KUA officials.

“The money can be transferred to a number of banks including Bank Negara Indonesia [BNI], Bank Rakyat Indonesia [BRI], Bank Tabungan Nasional [BTN] and Bank Mandiri,” said Jasin, who is also a former deputy chairman of the KPK.

He said that the Rp 600,000 wedding registration fee would be collected as non-tax state revenue (PNBP).

“Later, 80 percent of the Rp 600,000 fee will be allocated to pay for the transportation and bonus of the respective KUA official conducting the wedding outside of KUA,” Jasin said.

In 2012, graft allegations hit the Religious Affairs Ministry after the inspectorate general office at the ministry disclosed that KUA officials had swindled Rp 1.2 trillion per year from the registration of wedding vows.

The inspectorate general revealed that KUA charged couples a Rp 30,000 administrative fee to record the vows, but on many occasions, wedding-vow administrators demanded Rp 500,000.

“There are 2.5 million weddings a year, not including divorces. If we multiply 2.5 million weddings by Rp 500,000, we have Rp 1.2 trillion,” Jasin told reporters in 2012, adding that the inspector general was concerned that the practice was systemic.

The Religious Affairs Ministry has been widely considered one of the most corrupt ministries in the country, especially in the management of haj an alms.

In May 2014, the antigraft body named former religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali as a graft suspect after finding strong evidence that the United Development Party (PPP) chairman had misused his power in the management of the haj fund, which resulted in more than Rp 1 trillion in state losses

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