The House of Representatives has elected the next four leaders of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), prompting angry cries from critics who say that the victors were chosen to serve the interests of political parties.
The House’s law commission voted in lawyer and rights activist Abraham Samad, senior prosecutor Zulkarnaen and National Police Commission member Adnan Pandupraja, along with race frontrunner Bambang Widjojanto.
Support for former Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) chief Yunus Husein, another frontrunner in the race, disappeared at the last minute due to a failed lobbying attempt by the Democratic Party, which had initially named him as their preferred candidate.
The ruling party, which controls a majority 14 seats in the commission, were out-muscled by the Golkar Party, which supported Pandupraja.
Golkar, which did not choose Yunus, who was President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s first pick, teamed up with other factions to support University of Indonesia academician Pandupraja.
“We never doubted the integrity of Bambang; he would not have allowed himself to be dictated by anyone,” said Adnan Topan Husodo, the deputy coordinator of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW).
“But the other three newly elected KPK leaders showed a side to their characters that was willing to compromise with political parties.”
Adnan also argued that the House’s decision to pick Abraham, a 45-year-old lawyer from Makassar who was the youngest candidate in the race, as the KPK chief was a letdown, describing Abraham’s appointment as “completely political” and saying that the lawmakers “only accommodated their political parties’ interests and not the public agenda of corruption eradication”.
“With this result, we can see clearly that the lawmakers put aside integrity, competency, leadership and independence.”
Abraham on Friday became KPK chief by edging out Bambang and incumbent Busyro Muqoddas, who were tipped as the heavy favorites to become the leader of the anti-graft body, after surprisingly winning 43 out of the 56 votes, while Bambang and Busyro earned 4 and 5 votes, respectively.
The new KPK chief is known to have had strong affiliations with Islamic hard-liner groups such as the Indonesian Mujahidin Assembly (MMI) and Laskar Jundullah.
His curriculum vitae as a lawyer in his hometown at Makassar, South Sulawesi, includes defending Laskar Jundullah activists who
were arrested for their involvement in the bombing of a McDonald’s restaurant in the city on Dec. 5, 2002.
Achmad Basarah, a lawmaker from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said that the lawmakers’ decision to exclude Yunus, a notable financial expert who was previously tipped as the front-runner along with Bambang, was a result of Yunus’ strong ties to the palace and the ruling Democratic Party.
Achmad told the Post that some of the coalition parties had shown signs that they may propose a leadership challenge before the 2014 elections, adding that they could use the Bank Century case as their major weapon.
“Yes [the coalition parties will try to topple the Democratic Party] and they feel [Yunus] does not have the competency to resolve the Bank Century case.”
KPK spokesman Johan Budi said that the new KPK composition lacked figures with expertise in auditing and financial investigations.
“However, the current KPK leaders’ composition, which comprises lawyers and prosecutors such as Pak Bambang and Pak Zulkarnaen, is in fact strong in terms of taking action.” (sat)