KPK wins prestigious Magsaysay

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has won this year’s Ramon Magsaysay award, which is considered Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, in recognition for its tireless anti-graft campaign in the country.

The anti-graft body was one of five award winners announced by the Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) on its website www.rmaf.org.ph on Wednesday.

The Manila-based Ramon Magsaysay Foundation said that the KPK was being recognized for “its fiercely independent and successful campaign against corruption in Indonesia”.

“[The KPK] is combining the uncompromising prosecution of erring powerful officials with farsighted reforms in governance systems and the educative promotion of vigilance, honesty and active citizenship among all Indonesians,” the foundation said in a statement.

The KPK is also considered successful for having a 100 percent rate of conviction of corrupt officials and has recovered US$80 million in stolen assets.

The KPK and four other winners will receive prizes of $50,000 each at a ceremony set for Aug. 31 in Manila.

Responding to the announcement, the KPK said that it was the recognition for a concerted effort against graft in the country.

“This is an award for the people, anti-corruption NGOs and activists as well as the press in Indonesia, who are fighting against corruption together with the KPK. We, the KPK, only carried out our duty independently and without seeing the labels that are attached to any suspects,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday evening.

He said the award could motivate the agency to work harder in the future. “This award will prompt us to work harder and not to stop in combating corruption, a task which is not easy. It will also be a reminder for us to keep the institution on the right track in order to respond to the public demands for a better Indonesia,” he added.

Established in 2003, KPK has won support from a public that has grown weary of a corrupt judiciary, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the National Police.

The anti-graft body has locked up a number of high-ranking officials as well as prominent figures from political parties; while several others are waiting in line as the KPK has been fiercely hands-on with big graft cases.

The KPK, for example, detained Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, then active leader of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), over an import beef scandal in February this year.

Earlier in December last year, the anti graft body also locked up an active general, Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, over a graft-ridden procurement of 700 two-wheeled and 556 four-wheeled driving simulators in 2011, which caused more than US$19.81 million in state losses.

It has also arrested politicians from political parties, including former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin and party colleague Angelina Sondakh over bribery linked to the construction of the SEA Games athletes village in South Sumatra.

Other award winners include Ernesto Domingo from the Philippines for his dedication in providing healthcare for the poor; Myanmarese Laphai Seng Raw for empowering members of conflict-torn communities and Afghanistan’s first and only female governor, Habiba Sarabi, for her tireless effort to build a functioning government and to promote education and women’s rights in Afghanistan’s Bamyan province amid escalating violence. Nepalese foundation Shakti Samuha also received the award for its work in tackling human trafficking in the country.

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