SBY may have told Timur to back down
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The leadership of National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo is being put to the test in how he handles the rift between his force and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
Leading what is widely regarded as the country’s most corrupt institution, Timur has been labelled by several of his generals as lacking influence and authority within the force.
This has forced him into a dilemma between complying with public demand for reform and confronting a possible revolt within the police’s top ranks from those who are pushing to maintain the status quo.
During a meeting with former police chiefs on Monday, according to a participant who demanded anonymity, Timur acknowledged that he had secretly received orders from President Susilo Bambang Yudho-yono to comply with the KPK and immediately end the standoff.
“Timur told the audience that the President had ordered him to comply with the KPK. However, his stance remains unclear,” said the participant.
“Former police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri [Timur’s predecessor] even told Timur that he should be aware of the consequences if the President had given the order.”
Yudhoyono did not make his order public due to his Javanese-style politeness and his concern of losing the support of the police.
The rift between the police and the KPK centers on the agency’s historic move late last month to raid the National Police Traffic Corps’ headquarters in South Jakarta and declare an active two-star general, Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, a graft suspect. The case revolves around the procurement of driving simulators worth Rp 198.7 billion (US$24 million).
Defying public calls for the investigation to be solely handled by the KPK, the police have forcibly taken over part of the antigraft body’s probe into the case.
The police only allowed the KPK to investigate Djoko Susilo, while the case file on three of his subordinates has been taken over the by police.
“I told the police chief that he should comply with the President and the law to end the standoff, and he responded positively,” said former National Police chief Gen. (ret.) Awaluddin Djamin, who was present at the meeting.
Awaluddin ended his tenure as National Police chief in 1982. He is now considered one of the most respected retired police generals.
Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam did not deny reports of the order Yudhoyono issued to Timur.
“Let’s just follow the existing regulations,” Dipo said on the sidelines of a breaking-the-fast gathering at the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta on Wednesday.
During the event, Yudhoyono was seen talking with KPK chairman Abraham Samad and Timur while holding their hands, though the topic of their discussion remains unknown.
A meeting between Timur and Abraham late on Monday did not yield a final solution, but Abraham said both institutions had agreed to “cool down” over the issue.
According to a source, Timur was seeking a decent exit strategy by demanding more time during his meeting with former police chiefs.
He basically agreed to comply with the KPK but sought a way to save face while simultaneously avoiding infighting or revolt within the National Police over his decision.
“He was seen as a weak figure by the other generals. His decision to comply with the KPK would reinforce that belief. And this will make things worse internally as more generals will defy his orders for his failure to protect the corps,” the source said.
Timur is slated to retire in July next year.