Police persist as SBY holds back
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Tensions between the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the National Police have flared up over the latter’s investigation into the procurement of vehicle simulators as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono continued to remain aloof from the issue.
Ignoring calls to allow the KPK to lead the probe, the police insisted on continuing its own investigation into the scandal which many believe to be an effort to stymie the KPK.
“The President is following this issue from news reports. He has reiterated the need for all law-enforcement bodies to work together. However, the President will refrain from interfering because this is a legal matter,” presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said on Friday.
He said the President has instructed Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto to ensure the National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo and the KPK leaders coordinate on the case.
Article 50 of the Law on the KPK mandates the police and the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to halt their investigations and hand over dossiers to the KPK should the antigraft body become involved in related investigations.
National Police detective chief Comr. Gen. Sutarman, insisted that the police would proceed with investigating the graft-ridden procurement. The police’s action was based on the 1981 Law on the Criminal Code Procedures (KUHAP), he said.
“None of articles in that law specifically stipulates that law enforcement institutions, the police in particular, should stop their investigations [for any reasons]. For this reason, we will continue to investigate the case unless there is a court ruling ordering us to desist,” he said on Friday, adding that the KPK had breached a KPK-Police agreement on a joint investigation.
Sutarman cited the KPK’s insistence on raiding the National Police Traffic Corps headquarters for evidence last Monday afternoon, despite an earlier agreement between leaders of the two institutions to wait for two days for the police to complete and present their findings before the KPK’s leaders, as an example of the commission’s unethical conduct.
“It was unethical for the KPK to conduct the raids without a warrant from the National Police chief [Timur Pradopo] as both sides had agreed to wait,” Sutarman said.
Legal expert Hikmahanto Juwana said President Yudhoyono must order the National Police to stop its investigation and let the KPK continue.
“The President must be decisive in this case. He has to ask the National Police to comply with the 2002 KPK Law and let the anti-graft body investigate the case thoroughly,” Hikmahanto of the University of Indonesia (UI) said.
The tensions between the police and the KPK arose when the KPK announced earlier this week that it had launched a full-blown investigation into alleged corruption surrounding the 2011 procurement of driving simulators, worth a total of Rp 198.7 billion (US$21.06 million), by the National Police’s Traffic Corps.
The situation deteriorated when members of the police traffic corps refused to let KPK investigators remove sealed documented evidence during a raid. The standoff lasted from Monday afternoon until Tuesday when KPK leaders, led by chairman Abraham Samad, met Timur on Tuesday afternoon.
The National Police have also been on the defensive after the KPK named Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, former chief of the National Police Traffic Corps, a suspect in the case for allegedly accepting a Rp 2 billion bribe.
The KPK has also named Police Traffic Corps’ deputy chief Didik Purnomo and Adj. Sr. Comr. Teddy Rusmawan, the officer who was in charge of the graft-ridden procurement, as suspects, as well as the chiefs of firms that won the procurement contracts, namely Budi Santoso from PT Citra Mandiri Metalindo Abadi and Sukoco S. Bambang from PT Inovasi Teknologi Indonesia.
The Police have named individuals as suspects in their investigation. Democratic Party former treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin, who is being detained by the KPK, is reported to also own a company which won a driving-simulator contract in 2010, an allegation that was quickly denied by his lawyer Elza Syarief.