Police chief’s hackles raised by military prison prospect
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The prospect of high-ranking police officials being detained at an infamous military prison has apparently sent chills down the spines of the National Police leadership.
National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo lost his cool on Tuesday when asked about the possibility of a police general being held inside the detention facility in Guntur, South Jakarta, belonging to the Indonesian Military (TNI).
Timur, known for his polite manner, raised his voice when responding to a query from The Jakarta Post about the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) plan to detain suspects in the National Police Traffic Corps procurement scandal.
“Why do you ask me about the issue? Go ask the KPK,” Timur growled.
Later, Timur appeared even more irritated when asked about the prospect of former Traffic Corps chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo becoming the first detainee in the cells, which were torture chambers for political prisoners during the New Order.
“What’s the matter with you? It is the KPK’s business,” Timur said, as the Post correspondent was being hustled away by his adjutant.
Timur gave no response when asked about the future of the TNI-police relationship should Djoko be put in the detention center.
Sources in the KPK have confirmed that the commission will indeed detain Djoko in the prison.
Djoko, the first active police general to be named a KPK suspect, was deemed “special” given his rank and influence in the police force.
Many suspect that KPK-TNI cooperation could worsen the tension between the military and the police, which has been simmering since the separation of the two bodies soon after the fall of the New Order.
TNI chief Adm. Agus Suhartono rebuffed speculation, saying the decision to allow the KPK to use the detention center was part of the 2005 KPK-TNI memorandum of understanding.
“That’s irrelevant, linking the issue with the past of the TNI. We have long collaborated with the KPK, just like we have built relations with other institutions like the Agriculture Ministry and the Education and Culture Ministry,” he said.
Agus said that collaboration with the KPK was part of TNI’s contribution to the war against graft.
“We want to eradicate corruption, too. Are we not allowed to do so?” Agus said.
Meanwhile, graft watchdogs decried the KPK’s move to ask for help from the military.
The chairman of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, Alvon Kurnia Palma, said the agreement was a setback, arguing that the KPK should investigate the military for irregularities in weapons procurement.
“The move is misguided and could be seen as implying the TNI is a ‘clean’ institution compared to others,” Alvon said on Tuesday.