The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) quizzed politically wired deputy National Police chief Comr. Gen. Nanan Sukarna on Wednesday as a witness in a corruption case within the police force that has fueled tensions between the two law enforcement institutions.
The KPK investigators questioned Nanan for nine hours in connection with an alleged rigged tender in the Rp 200 billion (US$20.6 million) procurement of driving simulators at the National Traffic Police Corps (Korlantas).
Nanan was dragged into the case after Sukotjo S. Bambang, director of PT Inovasi Teknologi Indonesia, which was subcontracted by tender winner PT Citra Mandiri Metalindo Abadi (CMMA), accused him of receiving Rp 1.7 billion in kickbacks when he was chief of the police’s general supervision inspectorate. Nanan is said to have signed the letter dated April 8, 2011, awarding the project to CMMA.
National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo and former Korlantas chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, the only top police official charged in the case, were among those who also signed the letter.
Speaking to reporters after the questioning, the visibly tired Nanan said that as chief of the general supervision inspectorate he had to conduct a pre-audit on the project before giving it the go-ahead.
“The audit was to convince Timur as the end user of the project before signing off on the project,” he said.
Nanan, slated to retire in the next couple of months, has strong influence among senior officers within the police force, leading a faction whose members include National Detective chief Comr. Gen. Sutarman and Djoko Susilo. Nanan also has connections to several political parties.
Nanan and Sutarman have sternly opposed the KPK’s investigation into the simulator case.
The driving simulator case has escalated tensions between the KPK and the police force. When the case first emerged in October last year, the two institutions were involved in a series of showdowns, culminating in dozens of police officers trying to enter the antigraft body’s headquarters to arrest KPK investigator Novel Baswedan, a leading investigator in the case, for allegedly shooting robbery suspects in 2004.
The police then ordered 20 of its officers seconded to the KPK, most of whom were also investigating the case, to immediately return to the force.
Apart from Nanan, the KPK has questioned other top officials implicated in the case as witnesses, including the officer overseeing the procurement, Adj. Sr. Comr. Teddy Rusmawan. Teddy was named a suspect by the police when they insisted that they should take over the case despite the KPK’s ongoing investigation.
The National Police said they respected the KPK’s move to question Nanan. “We will respect the KPK’s investigation,” Sutarman said.
Sutarman also said that the police were ready to investigate the leak scandal within the KPK should the ethics panel investigating the case find indications of criminality by KPK officials. “We will respect the decision of the ethics commission at the KPK. If they find more than just ethical violations, but also criminal offences, let the ethics commission hand over [the evidence] to be investigated by me,” he explained.
Several KPK commissioners are now facing an ethics hearing following the leak of a classified document naming Anas Urbaningrum a suspect in the Hambalang graft case. Anas has claimed the leak was part of a scheme devised by his opponents to oust him as chairman of the Democratic Party.
Anies Baswedan, the head of the KPK ethics panel, said it would hand the case to a law enforcement agency if they found evidence of criminality. “If there is an element of criminality, the case will be transferred to a law enforcement agency,” he said on Tuesday. Anies said the panel had not decided whether to file the case with the National Police or the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).
Sutarman made clear that he did not intend to exploit the scandal to undermine the KPK. “I don’t want any assumption that I will use the case to criminalize [the KPK officials]. If there are criminal aspects to the case, let the KPK’s internal commission make a decision on that. We will just wait,” he added.
The police have charged senior KPK officials before. Back in 2009, the police detained then KPK chairman Antasari Azhar for his involvement in the 2009 murder of Nasruddin Zulkarnaen, the director of pharmaceutical company PT Putra Rajawali Banjaran. The case is said to have been rife with irregularities.
Later that year, the police arrested then KPK deputy chiefs, Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra M. Hamzah, for alleged power abuse and extortion linked to graft suspect Anggoro Widjojo. Activists claimed that the case was orchestrated.
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