Saving KPK: Saving KPK: Activists from all walks of life hold up banner declaring “Selamatkan KPK” (Save the KPK—Corruption Eradication Commission) at the KPK headquarters in Jakarta early Saturday. Activists protested following a police attempt to arrest KPK investigator Comr. Novel Baswedan, who is one of the investigators working on a graft scandal involving the Police Traffic Corps. The police claimed that they were investigating a 2004 murder case involving Novel. (Antara/Widodo S.Jusuf)
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will make a public statement concerning the heightened tension between the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the National Police on Tuesday noon, at the latest, State Secretary Sudi Silalahi has said.
“Looking at the social media, there have been numerous attacks against the President saying that he remains silent [about the issue]. It is important that I restate that this is not true,” Sudi said during a press conference at the Presidential Office on Sunday.
“The President has been listening to people’s suggestions that he take command and end the rifts between the two bodies,” he went on.
According to Sudi, the President had expected the KPK and Police to promote coordination efforts between each other before he stepped in to the conflict. “However, given the situation, which has developed negatively, where many parties have manipulated the case, the President has decided to ‘take over’ and make a public clarification tomorrow [Monday] or on Tuesday afternoon at the latest,” he said.
Sudi’s statement came amid mounting public pressures calling on Yudhoyono to make decisive measures to end the KPK-Police tension.
On Sunday morning, prominent figures and activists joined with hundreds of residents in a peaceful rally in Jakarta, demanding the President to prove his commitment to corruption eradication.
The showdown between the KPK and the Police began when the anti-graft body raided the National Police Traffic Corps office in July as a part of its investigation into the alleged graft surrounding the procurement of driving simulators.
Ever since, the National Police have made numerous moves, which many consider as “counter attacks”, such as launching “conditioned probes” into similar graft under investigation by the KPK. The Police also withdrew dozens of officers that had been assigned to the KPK as investigators.
The latest move took place on Friday, when officers from Bengkulu and Jakarta Police raided the KPK headquarters in an attempt to arrest investigator Comr. Novel Baswedan. The Police have accused Novel of being responsible for the shooting of six robbery suspects in 2004 when he served as Bengkulu Police chief detective.
Police failed to detain Novel as hundreds of civilians, activists, and other prominent figures flocked the KPK headquarters and defended him.
Novel, who leads KPK’s investigation team on the driving simulator case, is one of five KPK investigators who have rejected the National Police’s order to leave the anti-graft body and return to the police, their original institution. (lfr)