The Jakarta Post
Despite President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's order that the National Police cooperate in the fight against graft, some high-ranking police generals for the second time defied summons sent by Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators for questioning to complete the dossiers of National Police chief nominee Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan.
National Police general crime investigations director Brig. Gen. Herry Prastowo and Sr. Comr. Ibnu Isticha, who is Budi's subordinate at the Police Education Institute (Lemdikpol), and Jombang deputy police chief Comr. Sumardi, who also declined to meet the summons last week, again failed to show up for their rescheduled interrogation on Monday.
The KPK has named Budi a suspect for financial misdeeds after finding that in his capacity as head of the Career Development Bureau at the National Police headquarters from 2004 to 2006 he amassed a total of Rp 95 billion (US$7 million) that he allegedly collected from bribes and gratuities, including bribes paid by officers in pursuit of higher positions in the force.
Since Monday last week, the antigraft body has attempted to summons a number of active police generals and middle-ranking officers, who allegedly paid bribes to Budi to get their promotions, but none of them have turned up for questioning.
Frustrated with the no-shows, the antigraft body said that it would issue a third summons letter for Herry, Ibnu and Sumardi as well as send copies of the summonses to the President and the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno to inform the State Palace about the defiance.
'We will summons them again,' KPK prevention unit deputy Johan Budi said when asked whether KPK investigators would bring the police officers by force for the third summons, as has been practiced by KPK investigators in the past.
But KPK investigators were said to have had problems trying to bring police generals by force for questioning.
Analysts have said that the senior officers' rejection to meet the summons was part of an orchestrated effort to hamper the probe into Budi.
University of Indonesia (UI) legal expert Gandjar Laksmana Bonaprapta said that the decision not to show up for questioning was the next step from the police following their decision to name KPK commissioner Bambang Widjojanto a suspect in a perjury case.
Gandjar encouraged KPK investigators to bring the three witnesses by force if they had enough evidence to prove that the police officers made deliberate efforts to ignore the third summons.
'Under the Criminal Law Procedures Code [KUHAP], the KPK investigators could bring them by force for the third summons. If the witnesses have adjutants who try to stand in the way of KPK investigators to pick up [their bosses] then these underlings could be charged with Article 21 of the Criminal Code [KUHP] of on obstruction of justice,' Gandjar said.
Gandjar, however, warned the antigraft body against seeking help from the Army in dealing with the police generals as it could escalate tensions.
'I believe that KPK investigators have the courage to bring them by force for questioning. The problem remains if the witnesses use weapons or physical force to block KPK investigators from summoning. In that situation, the public could then judge for themselves who is in support of the antigraft campaign and who isn't,' Gandjar said.
Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) researcher Emerson Yuntho said that the police generals' failure to meet the KPK summons indicated that Budi Gunawan was in fact the National Police chief although he had yet to be sworn in by the President.
'This is not something unintentional. We can see that Budi is already the de facto leader of the National Police. The KPK must struggle hard to deal with these challenges,' Emerson said on Monday.
Many have suspected that Jokowi's decision not to drop Budi's candidacy was due to the police general's close relationship to ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri.
Analysts have also said that the sustained attack against the KPK was also possible because of Budi's role in the force.
On Saturday, KPK commissioner Adnan Pandu Praja was reported to the National Police for alleged fraud that took place in 2006.
Also on Monday, the National Police disclosed that they had received a criminal report against KPK chairman Abraham Samad and that they were currently studying the report.
While no reports have yet been filed against another KPK commissioner, Zulkarnain, he is likely to be reported for an allegation that he mishandled a graft case while serving as East Java's chief prosecutor in 2009.
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