A new draft revision to the corruption law will strengthen the country’s fight against widespread corruption, a member of the team tasked with drafting the bill claims.
The new draft amendment is currently being reviewed and redrafted by a special Law and Human Rights Ministry team. It will replace the previous draft revision, which has been rebuked for being soft on corrupt officials and allegedly trying to limit the role of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). That draft, which had been submitted to the House of Representatives for deliberation, was withdrawn.
“The new team will ensure that the draft will only reinforce the fight against corruption and rearm the KPK with a new authority,” law expert Romli Atmasasmita, a team member, told The Jakarta Post at the International Conference on Foreign Bribery hosted by the KPK in Nusa Dua, Bali, recently.
He emphasized that the new draft would be more in line with the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). Indonesia ratified UNCAC in 2006, but has failed to adopt some critical provisions, including the authority to probe foreign bribery cases, recover stolen assets from overseas and illicit enrichment, into law.
One “standout improvement” the team was discussing was the authority to probe and prosecute foreign public officials — including state officials, the public agency and public enterprises — and private sectors.
“We have to be fair in terms of enforcing the law. Bribery does not merely affect the public sector; it also impairs the private sector,” said Romli, also a participant at the conference. “And both public and private sectors involve foreign players.”
With this authority, the KPK can probe and prosecute foreign players bribing Indonesian officials. “And vice versa, foreign law enforcements can probe our officials,” he said. “The mechanism used is an MLA [mutual legal assistance], just like UNCAC.”
Under the new draft, private companies that violate the law are subjected to fines, while their officials are to criminal charges, he said.
A passage on asset forfeiture and foreign asset recovery, which Romli said was crucial to protecting the state fund, will be removed in the new draft. “The passage will be incorporated in the asset forfeiture law that will be enacted soon,” he said.
He said the bill would allow the state and local budget to misuse a criminal offense to address rampant corruption in the regions. “This action has caused state losses.”
The new draft law, however, rules out a regulation that makes illicit enrichment an offense as proposed by the KPK. The commission requested that the concept be incorporated in the draft revision to charge officials who failed to explain the significant increase in their assets in relation to their declared income.
“It is better to postpone this mechanism until the KPK is ready with an excellent mechanism and database of state officials’ wealth reports,” he said. “It is difficult to prove illicit enrichment. And without a good database, it could be misused.”
However, KPK deputy chief Mochammad Jasin begged to differ, saying that it must put it into the revision or people will never regard it as corruption. He further argued that since proving illicit enrichment was difficult, it should be clearly regulated in the law.
The team, Romli said, also revoked a previously censured provision in the controversial draft that suspects in a less than Rp 25 million graft case can escape prosecution if they plead guilty and return the money to the states.
Romli said the team, comprised of KPK deputy chief Chandra M. Hamzah, Junior Attorney General for Special Crimes Muhammad Amari, and representations from the Law and Human Rights Ministry, would start discussions on the penalty and jail term. “The draft is expected to be ready by June.”