National

Legislators hound KPK in
BI corruption scandal

A hearing between legislators and leaders of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Thursday turned into an oppor-tunity for several lawmakers to bash the KPK for naming fellow politicians as graft suspects.

Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) legislator Panda Nababan, recently named a suspect in a high-profile graft case pertaining to the 2004 election of Miranda Goeltom as central bank senior deputy governor, was present at the meeting and used the occasion to protest the ill-treatment he claimed to receive during questioning by KPK investigators.

PDI-P legislator Gayus Lumbuun criticized the procedures used by the commission in handling corruption cases, citing the Miranda case as an example.

“The commission violated the principle of legal certainty guaranteed by law. It’s still not clear whether the traveler’s checks [allegedly paid out to legislators] were gratuities or supporting funds for political parties,” Gayus said.

“It looks as if the KPK is showing off. It never took into consideration the best solution for the suspect,”
he said.

Last month, the commission named 26 former members of the House’s Commission IX, including Panda and the Golkar Party’s Paskah Suzetta, as suspects for accepting bribes to support Miranda’s bid to be Bank Indonesia senior deputy governor in 2004.

He added that the KPK had to suspend the probe into his fellow politicians until sufficient evidence had been found to avoid character assassination.

Panda claimed the commission had succeeded in muddying his name.

“Now my friends are reluctant to call me because they are worried our conversations will be wiretapped. They also avoid meeting with me,” he said.

Panda also questioned KPK procedures, which he said tended to ignore the rights of both witness-es and suspects. “Investigators are granted huge authority. They may talk to the press freely, while we cannot even get a copy of our case file.”

Golkar’s Dewi Asmara also criticized KPK procedures. “We don’t expect KPK procedures to hold precedence over the law. Its procedures should not be used to create double standards in probing cases,” she said.

Dewi added that in several corruption cases, the KPK stopped investigations after the Corruption Court sentenced graft convicts, while in other cases, such as the Bank Indonesia vote-rigging scandal, it continued the legal process before the motive behind the alleged bribery could be established.

“We really need to know the KPK’s procedures in prioritizing a case,” she said.

KPK deputy chairman Chandra M. Hamzah denied the allegations, saying the KPK already had clear standards both during investigations and trials.

“It’s normal for people to have questions about the traveler’s checks. We are still investigating,” he said. “It all hinges on how much evidence we can collect.”

Febri Diansyah from Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said that as a graft suspect, Panda should have been banned from attending the hearing.

“He has to be excluded from the session because he has a conflict of interest. The House’s monitoring function should not be hijacked by corruption suspects,” he said. (lnd)

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