KPK to crack down on those obstructing probes
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said that it was possible to prosecute individuals who obstruct investigations of graft cases.
KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto said that the antigraft agency would pursue these individuals, including lawyers, notaries and even journalists, who in recent days had made efforts to mislead the public by giving conflicting accounts about graft suspects.
“We consider these people as ‘gatekeepers’ and they affect our ways of dealing with corruption,” Bambang said during a discussion over the weekend.
Bambang said that the phenomenon was not new to antigraft efforts in other parts of the world, but new to Indonesia.
He said that these people who perverted the course of justice could be prosecuted under Article 21 of Law No. 20/2001 on anticorruption.
Bambang, however, said that the KPK could not yet effectively apply the article. ”We have been thinking of devising a new mechanism so that these people who obstruct KPK investigations could also be named as graft suspects,” Bamband said.
Article 21 of the anticorruption law stipulates that anyone who intentionally prevents, obstructs or hinders the investigation, prosecution, or trial of graft suspects, defendants, or witnesses, could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison and between Rp 150 million to Rp 600 million in fines.
In recent days, the KPK has seen lawyers and supporters of graft suspects giving misleading comments to the public.
Soon after the arrest of graft fugitive Neneng Sri Wahyuni, the wife of former Democratic Party lawmaker Muhammad Nazaruddin, her lawyers said that their client had turned herself in, voluntarily, to KPK investigators.
The KPK said that Neneng was apprehended by its investigators soon after arriving from Malaysia.
In the recent tax-fraud case implicating investment company PT Bhakti Investama, owned by media tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo, those reportedly implicated in the case had taken the prosecution lightly.
When the KPK issued a summons to question him as suspect, Hary, who is now an executive of the National Democratic (Nasdem) Party, ignored it and arrived at the KPK headquarters two days later.
He said that he voluntarily came to the KPK to help the investigation.
In recent days, the KPK has also gotten tough on those who obstructed its prosecution.
The KPK has named two Malaysian citizens; R. Azmi bin Muhammad Yusof and Hasan bin Kushi, both as suspects for obstructing an investigation of the graft case involving Neneng Sri Wahyuni.
The two foreigners allegedly played pivotal roles in hiding Neneng from the authorities while she fled the country to Malaysia.
Emerson Yuntho of the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said the KPK indeed faced problems in prosecuting those who obstruct its investigation.
“I could not remember too many cases where those people could be prosecuted, but I know this is possible, like when the KPK charged Anggodo Widjojo with Article 21,” he said.
Anggodo is the brother the main suspect in the fraudulent 2006-2007 procurement of a radio communication system by the Forestry Ministry, businessman Anggoro Widjojo.
Emerson said those who obstruct KPK investigations could be hoping to secure the assets of graft suspects, receive lighter sentences for graft defendants or even releasing graft convicts from jail.