Watchdogs criticize police plan to recall investigators from KPK
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Graft watchdogs blasted on Sunday the National Police’s plan to withdraw 20 of its investigators currently posted at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), saying that it would be an act of retribution for the anti-graft body’s ongoing investigations into high-level police corruption.
“The National Police are angry that the KPK investigation could implicate elite members of the police. This withdrawal is just one way to punish the KPK and cripple its investigations,” Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) activist Emerson Yuntho told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
Separately, Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) chairman Neta S. Pane said that the higher echelons of the police were now terrified of the KPK’s investigation.
“The police elites are frightened by the KPK’s recent maneuvers. They’re especially nervous about the recent joint effort by the KPK and the TNI [Indonesian Military] to use the Guntur detention center to hold graft suspects,” Neta explained.
Neta referred to a detention center in Guntur, South Jakarta, which is allegedly being prepared to hold high-ranking officials implicated in the driving simulators graft case.
Neta said that the police intention to block investigations into its ranks could be seen by the fact that only one of the 20 KPK investigators was handling the driving simulator graft case.
“It is safe to say that the withdrawal plan could be seen as an act of vengeance against the KPK,” Neta said.
The National Police have confirmed they are recalling their investigators from the KPK.
KPK deputy chairman Adnan Pandu Pradja said on Sunday the police had been “insensitive” by hastily recalling 20 out of the KPK’s 80 investigators.
“It’s not like changing tires. Our investigators are professionals who have undergone long training programs to develop expertise in corruption investigation,” Adnan said on Sunday, adding the KPK would file an official objection to the National Police.
The 2002 Anti-corruption Law allows the antigraft body to recruit its own investigators, but so far it has relied on other institutions, including the National Police, to contribute to its effort.
The revelation of the police’s plan to withdraw the investigators came amid the stand off between the KPK and the National Police after the former launched an investigation into an alleged high-profile graft case centering on the procurement of driving simulators by the National Police Traffic Corps in 2011.
The state allegedly lost more than Rp 100 billion (US$10.52 million) in the Rp 198.7 billion procurement fraud.
National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said on Sunday the investigators had been asked to leave the nation’s top antigraft body, because their tenures would soon expire.
“We will replace them with our best detectives,” Boy said.
KPK spokesman Johan Budi said only one of the 20 investigators was directly handling the simulator case. He agreed that the sudden withdrawal could undermine the KPK’s overall performance.
Edi Saputra Hasibuan, a member of the National Police Commission, shared Johan’s opinion that the withdrawals might hamper the KPK investigation.