Bad ACTors: Top Indonesian charity organization accused of misappropriating funds

File photo of ACT activists. Photo: ACT
File photo of ACT activists. Photo: ACT

Charity organization ACT (Aksi Cepat Tanggap) is under the national spotlight after a damning report was published alleging that its bosses misappropriated funds.

Tempo magazine published the piece in its Saturday, June 2, 2022 edition, reporting the findings of its investigation into ACT. According to Tempo, despite heading a philanthropic organization, ACT executives rewarded themselves with exorbitant salaries and numerous perks from the job.

Tempo reported that Ahyudin, who chaired ACT until January 2022, took home a salary of IDR250 million (US$16,664) per month and had bought several cars, including a luxurious Toyota Alphard, using the organization’s funds for his official use.

Ahyudin has denied the allegations.

ACT, which is among the most prominent aid givers especially in times of disasters in the country, is reportedly the largest charity organization in Indonesia, collecting IDR500 billion (US$33.3 million) in public donations from 2018 to 2022. The figure dwarfs those of other prominent organizations like Dompet Dhuafa and Rumah Zakat, which collected IDR375 billion (US$25 million) and IDR224 billion (US$14.9 million) during the same period, respectively.

House of Parliament (DPR) member Maman Ilmanulhaq urged the government to freeze ACT’s permit in light of Tempo’s report. The lawmaker also said this scandal should be enough justification for the DPR to finally pass a law regulating charities.

Fellow lawmaker Marwan Dasopang also called on the police to investigate ACT. Furthermore, he said he fears this represents only the tip of the iceberg and that the government must do more to hold organizations like ACT accountable and ensure their transparency.

ACT spokeswoman Clara today said the organization will soon issue a statement addressing the scandal but noted that the organization has been undergoing many “political trials” in recent years.

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