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Amid pervasive corruption and illegal shootings, the National Police have come under the spotlight for forming a “brown line” to stonewall investigations into their integrity. The Jakarta Post’s Dicky Christanto, Sita W. Dewi and Rendi A. Witular explore the internal intrigue and politics within the force. Here are the stories:
More than a dozen retired police generals assembled on Monday for a meeting called in haste by National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo.
In attendance were four retired four-star generals — all former National Police chiefs: Widodo Budidarmo and Awaloedin Djamin from the 1970s and 1980s; Suroyo Bimantoro, who left office in the early 2000s; and Timur’s immediate predecessor, Bambang Hendarso Danuri.
The principal item on the agenda was the latest standoff between the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the National Police, which critics say have continued to stave off internal and external attempts at reform.
Surprisingly, the generals — according to a source at the meeting who requested anonymity — were mostly in favor of ordering the rank-and-file to comply with the commission in order to kick start reforms of the National Police, which has a reputation as one of the nation’s most corrupt institutions.
According to the source, Widodo and Bimantoro even told Timur to think deeply about how reform could be carried out within the force.
“During the meeting, Timur acknowledged that SBY [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] actually ordered him to comply with the KPK and immediately end the standoff,” the source said.
“Bambang Hendarso, who was at the heart of the initial rift between the police and the KPK, even warned Timur, although in soft tones, that there would be consequences if he defied SBY’s orders,” the source said.
The latest confrontation between the police and the KPK began after the commission’s unprecedented move in late July, when it raided the headquarters of the National Police Traffic Corps in South Jakarta and declared an active-duty police general, former traffic police chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, a graft suspect.
The case revolves around a kickback allegedly accepted by Djoko Susilo to award a Rp 198.7 billion (US$24 million) contract for driving simulators to a particular company.
Despite calls for the investigation to be entirely handled by the KPK, the police have launched their own investigation into the allegations focused on police suspects, in what another senior police source said was an attempt to block the KPK’s probe.
The police agreed to limit the commission to investigating Djoko Susilo’s role in the scandal, while detectives would investigate his subordinates.
The move, according to legal experts, might violate the KPK Law, which authorizes the commission to take over graft cases handled by the police or the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). It also highlights the police’s continued recalcitrance to purge the force of graft and extortion.
Timur, according to the source, thanked his predecessors for their input at the end of the meeting, declining to say how he would end the standoff with the KPK.
The source said that Timur was eager to avoid a repeat of the so-called Cicak vs Buaya standoff in 2009, which cast the commission as a cicak, or underdog gecko, and the National Police as the buaya, a much larger and more rapacious crocodile.
The standoff in 2009 began when the police declared two KPK commissioners criminal suspects after the KPK tapped the phones of the National Police’s detective chief when investigating a bribery scandal.
It ended with scorn heaped on the police and the exoneration of the KPK commissioners.
This time, however, Timur lacks the influence to garner support within the force, particularly from three-star and two-star generals, to comply with the President’s orders.
University of Indonesia (UI) criminologist Bambang Widodo Umar said that Timur’s leadership was weak.
“Timur has no roots within the force. Most of the generals are looking down at him,” Umar, a former police officer, said.
“He was appointed National Police chief for his total loyalty to the President, rather than for his leadership or other qualities.”
“His predecessors [Sutanto and Bambang Hendarso] were known for their firmness in campaigning against gambling and terrorism — and racked up many achievements because of that, despite failures to address corruption. Timur has offered us almost nothing,” Umar said.
Timur was not among the candidates for the top-cop slot proposed by Bambang Hendarso. Neither did the three-star generals comprising the National Police’s board for high-ranking promotions and transfers favor Timur in 2010.
Bambang and the board proposed selecting either Comr. Gen. Nanan Sukarna, currently National Police deputy chief, or Comr. Gen. Imam Sujarwo, head of the Security Maintenance Division.
Nanan, who has also been implicated in the current scandal, graduated from the Police Academy in 1978 with Timur. The pair are said to have been long-time rivals.
Yudhoyono, however, rejected appointing Nanan or Imam as top cop, selecting Timur, who was then Jakarta Police chief, to lead the force.
The move surprised observers, who said that seniority, not performance, typically drove promotions within the police. Seniors act as patrons, grooming juniors (anak buah) who are loyal to them as their power base and eventual successors.
The six three-star generals on the promotion board hold the most prestigious and powerful positions within the National Police. Most come from the Police Academy Class of 1978.
The chief of the Education and Training division, Comr. Gen. Oegroseno, also graduated in 1978.
The three generals all have their own anak buah holding critical positions on the force.
Nanan and National Police detective chief Comr. Gen. Sutarman, for example, were both proteges of Bambang Hendarso, according to another source — a three-star general who declined to be named.
Sutarman, from the Class of 1981, has been leading opposition to the KPK’s investigation.
Another influential general is Imam Sujarwo, Class of 1980, and a close friend of Army chief Gen. Pramono Edhie Wibowo, Yudhoyono’s brother-in-law.
“These influential generals are going their own ways, and at some stage, are refusing to show their loyalty to Timur,” said the general.
“To make it more complicated, these generals know the dirty laundry of their rivals – and are ready to make them public if they don’t protect one another,” he said.
According to police sources, Timur has been grooming former East Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, Class of 1982, as his operations assistant; West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Putut Eko Bayuseno, a former adjutant to Yudhoyono; and Timur’s old patron, Jakarta Police chief Untung S. Radjab, Class of 1977.
The ill will directed at Timur has spawned dissatisfaction and rivalries among the National Police’s senior leaders at headquarters and at the helm of the nation’s 33 provincial police forces.
Observers have attributed the recent unsound police shootings in several land and civil disputes throughout the nation to a lack of discipline stemming from the lack of unity among the generals.
Police expert Alfons Loemau said the current standoff showed how ineffective leadership could create rivalries that might further tarnish the reputation of the police.
Obeying and supporting “seniors” was now more important than upholding the law, Alfons said.
“From bottom to top, the police are taught one thing when it comes to their career: how to keep their bosses happy. With this kind of mentality, what do you expect them to do?” he said.
West Java security budget
National Police detective chief Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji is sentenced to 42 months’ imprisonment for embezzling Rp 27.7 billion from the security budget for the West Java governor’s election. His appeal is pending.
Police remove Brig. Gen. Edmond Ilyas as Lampung Police chief and Brig. Gen. Raja Erizman as economic crimes chief for complicity in the money laundering and tax evasion case implicating taxman Gayus H. Tambunan. Neither are prosecuted, although four junior officers are imprisoned for their roles.
Suspicious “fat” bank accounts
Tempo magazine says seven high-ranking police officers are hoarding billions in their bank accounts deposited by third parties. The police never followed up allegations that the balances were suspiciously large, given the salaries of the officers.
Djoko Susilo case
Bandung District Court sentences Sukotjo Bambang to two-and-a-half-years’ imprisonment after he testified that executive Budi Santoso paid a Rp 2 billion kickback to the then commander of the National Police Traffic Corps, Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, to win a contract.
On appeal, the West Java High Court adds 12 months to Sukotjo’s sentence.
July 30, 2012
KPK investigators raid Traffic Corps headquarters in South Jakarta and name Djoko as a suspect.
Aug. 2, 2012
In a parallel investigation, the National Police’s Criminal Investigations Division name five suspects in Djoko’s case, including another police general, two other police officers and businessmen Sukotjo Bambang and Budi Susanto.
Aug. 3, 2012
National Police detective chief Comr. Gen. Sutarman alleges that the KPK behaved
“unethically” in its raid on July 30.
Aug. 4, 2012
Police remove Djoko as head of the Police Academy and suspend the three other police suspects while the case is under investigation.
Aug. 5, 2012
Unidentified people try to enter the facility where the KPK is storing evidence in Djoko’s case.
Aug. 6, 2012
Deputy National Police chief Comr. Gen. Nanan Sukarna denies involvement in the Djoko scandal when he was head of internal affairs.
Two residents of Lambu in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, are shot dead when civilians and police clash at Sape Seaport over gold mining exploration licenses.
Five are injured and five others arrested after officers fire at protestors when land disputes turned violent in Tambusai and Rokan Hulu in Riau.
Police reportedly shoot dead a boy and injure four more while containing a clash between the residents of Limbang Jaya I, II and III in Tanjung Batu in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra.