KPK warned of fallout
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In spite of growing support for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in its prosecution of prominent politicians and high-ranking officials, the latest being the Democratic Party patron Hartati Murdaya, many are concerned about the possible fallout from the bold move.
Members of the House of Representatives have advised the KPK against overreach, arguing that the antigraft body could lose its focus in prosecuting major graft cases.
Lawmaker Eva Kusuma Sundari of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) reminded the KPK that its bickering with the National Police over the handling of the driving simulator procurement case could drain its resources from investigations into other major graft cases, such as the Bank Century bailout and the graft case surrounding the construction of the Hambalang sports complex in Bogor, West Java.
“I’m afraid that the rivalry between the KPK and the police is being engineered to save the major actors in these other cases. It appears to me that the KPK is reluctant to dig deeper into cases that have links to the Presidential Palace,” Eva said.
A fellow member of House Commission III overseeing legal affairs, Ahmad Yani of the United Development Party (PPP), warned the KPK not to behave like a bully, following the announcement by KPK deputy chairman, Bambang Widjojanto, that it would soon be naming a sitting minister as suspect.
“He [Bambang] must remember that the KPK is a state institution and not an NGO. Therefore, its commissioners must behave properly and not intimidate people, like common thugs,” Ahmad told reporters.
As if to respond to criticism that the new batch of KPK commissioners had been compromised following back-room deals at the House during their selection process earlier this year, the commission, under the leadership of Abraham Samad, has moved aggressively in handling high-profile cases and naming as suspects politicians from almost all the major political parties.
After detaining senior politicians, like Democratic Party lawmaker Angelina Sondakh, and the politically connected former senior deputy governor of the central bank, Miranda S. Goeltom, the KPK recently named Police Academy head, Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, a suspect in the multibillion rupiah corruption case surrounding the procurement of driving simulators at the National Traffic Police Corps.
While the controversy over the handling of the case still raged, the KPK named Hartati a suspect on Wednesday in a bribery case involving Buol regent Amran Batalipu.
Many are chafing at the KPK’s aggressive move, however. A House member, who wished to remain anonymous, said that some lawmakers were taken aback by the KPK’s pursuit of significant figures and planned to pound the KPK leadership in the next sitting session.
On the other hand, the KPK’s succession of bold moves has won plaudits from civil society organizations.
“The KPK is fulfilling its job description: to seek out and punish corruptors, whoever they are. The commission must continue doing its job to win more public support,” said Agus Sunaryanto, coordinator of Indonesia Corruption Watch’s (ICW) investigative team.
Agus said the KPK was now the public’s only hope for eradicating corruption. “The National Police and the Attorney General’s Office [AGO] are not supported by the public because they are corrupt,” he said.
Lawmaker Martin Hutabarat of the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party said the KPK needed to retain its privileges to make it more effective in prosecuting graft cases.
Martin said the authority accorded to the KPK to wiretap phone conversations by possible graft suspects was one such privilege.
He identified wiretapping as the key to determine Hartati’s involvement in the Buol bribery case.
“Therefore, we must do our best to ensure that any revision of the KPK Law does not strip the commission of that authority; to do so would weaken the antigraft body,” Martin told The Jakarta Post.