The House of Representatives told Attorney General Hendarman Supandji on Wednesday to speed up bureaucratic reforms in the institution widely perceived to be among the country’s most corrupt.
Bureaucratic reforms at the Attorney General’s Office has come under spotlight again after several prosecutors were implicated in the recent acquittal of Gayus Tambunan, a tax office employee who suspiciously amassed Rp 28 billion in his bank account.
Hendarman has also been accused of protecting subordinates implicated in the high-profile cases by way of slapping them with only administrative and disciplinary punishments.
“It’s high time Pak Hendarman Supandji speed up the bureaucratic reforms in his office. In fact we we’re eager to throw him our support if he means to reform AGO bureaucracy radically, lawmaker Satya Permana said in a hearing between AGO officials and House Commission III on legal affairs.
Didi Irawady Junus, another lawmaker, added that such radical bureaucratic reforms were necessary to allow transparency in AGO investigations.
“People have the impression the AGO leadership protects crooked prosecutors. The public has always wanted transparent investigations into problematic officials as several state institutions have done,” he said.
Didi said people questioned the light punishments recently meted out to corrupt prosecutors in the Gayus affair.
“The people often feel the AGO disregards the popular sense of fairness and objectivity,” he said.
The soft punishments for corrupt prosecutors have often sparked controversy, especially among antigraft activists.
The disciplinary punishments for senior prosecutors Cirus Sinaga and Poltak Manullang, who handled Gayus’s case were only the latest controversy. Hendarman says the light sanctions were appropriate because the team of monitoring prosecutors did not find evidence that Cirus and Manullang took bribes from Gayus.
“We only found they did not build a solid indictment. We didn’t find any evidence suggesting they fixed the verdict,” he said.
Tangerang District Court acquitted Gayus of money laundering and embezzlement charges in March.
The presiding judge, Muhtadi Asnun, has admitted to the Judicial Commission he received a Rp 50 million bribe from Gayus.
As for the bureaucratic reform, Hendarman claimed the AGO was now in the middle of implementing them.
“I would say we are already on the right track.”
“Two years ago, there were at least 500 prosecutors who violated internal regulations. Today, we have recorded less than 400 recalcitrant prosecutors. I count it as an achievement,” he said.
Responding to Hendarman’s claims, Eryanto Nugroho of the Center for Legal and Policy Studies said he strongly supported lawmakers’ demands for speedy, radical reforms at the AGO.
He said Hendarman should kick his habit of protecting his subordinates implicated in corruption cases.
“It’s understandable that people accuse the office of being overly protective of its recalcitrant officials,” he said.