Sumberkima tense as village head arrested

The situation in Sumberkima village was heated after Thursday’s arrest of its village head, Putu Wibawa, in relation to a graft case. Reports showed that a group of Putu’s followers, coordinated by Habib Muhammad Alwi Husein, assembled in several locations throughout the village — which is located in Gerokgak district, Buleleng, to gather support for a petition supporting his release. The district’s head, Dewa Made Ardika, confirmed the situation, saying that everything was still under control. Ardika said he and other local leaders had anticipated the situation, preparing measures to withstand the impact of the arrest.

“Once we saw people gather, we approached them and invited them to a dialogue. Fortunately, they understood,” he explained. The masses had gathered at the village head’s house and other locations one day earlier as they waited for the decision on Putu’s arrest. After the arrest, his supporters tried to collect signatures for a petition, which they said would be included with a release request to be submitted to the Singaraja Prosecutor’s Office by Putu’s lawyer. Putu was named a suspect in September over illegal levies in the Agrarian National Program (Prona) in his village in 2008 and in 2012.

Putu, who was in his second term when arrested, allegedly asked every applicant for Rp 700,000 (US$58) for a program certificate. Previously, despite being investigated by Buleleng Police, Putu was not detained. He was only detained Wednesday at Singaraja Penitentiary, pending completion of his dossier. Responding to questions on the vacuum in power after the scandal, Wayan Teren, Buleleng Regional Council Commission A head overseeing governance, said that the council would summon the head of the village empowerment board (BPMPD) to respond to the situation and the resignation of several village officials.

Ida Bagus Surya Manuaba, the regency secretariat’s assistant I for governance, blamed the BPMPD head for the power vacuum. “The BPMPD head should have coordinated with the Gerokgak district head to ensure that public services were not disrupted,” Surya said. BPMPD head Sandiyasa said that the board would soon appoint the village’s secretary, Ketut Wirtan, as acting village head. “While awaiting the court verdict, Putu’s position will be suspended. All of this will be temporary,” Wirtan said. He said that the board had sent a study result of the case to the Buleleng Regent Putu Agus Suradnyana for a decision.

source : bali daily

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