The Jakarta Post
A member of an independent team assisting President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo resolve tensions between the National Police and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) ' Bambang Widodo Umar ' has called on the force to comply with the President's earlier order to stop pressing dubious charges against KPK leaders and investigators.
On Friday, the police brought new charges against suspended KPK chairman Abraham Samad, in addition to his forgery-document case.
This time, the police accused him of also abusing his authority as KPK chairman in regard to his alleged vice presidential ambitions in 2014, despite mounting criticism that such an offense was subject to a breach of ethics, which must be handled internally by the KPK.
In addition to unclear accusations against suspended KPK commissioner Bambang Widjojanto in a perjury case, the National Police have also kept up the pressure on the KPK by insisting on summoning the antigraft body's leading investigator, Novel Baswedan, in an assault case, which was halted in 2012 in the wake of another conflict between the KPK and the National Police.
Umar said that the police had besmirched the image of the President as the country's highest authority by not complying with the order, which Jokowi issued when deciding to cancel the inauguration of Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan as the country's top cop and to dismiss Abraham and Bambang from their posts as a compromise to resolving the recent standoff between the two institutions.
The police went further, naming Bambang and Abraham suspects as well as accusing 21 KPK investigators of possessing illegal firearms, after the KPK named Budi a graft suspect in its year-long investigation into a total dubious transaction of Rp 95 billion in his bank accounts between 2004 and 2006.
Umar, also a police observer, added that the police must follow the President's order by launching case exposÃ©s to determine whether cases against Abraham, Bambang and Novel met the criteria of a criminal case.
'If the case exposÃ© forums find no indication of irregularities, then the police must go ahead and process the cases, but if there are irregularities then they must be stopped,' Umar said, adding that such a forum was attended by the head of the police, investigators and experts.
On Feb. 16, the South Jakarta District Court controversially approved a pretrial petition filed by Budi to challenge his graft suspect status that had earlier been issued to him the KPK. The court ordered the KPK to stop the investigation into the police general. The verdict said the KPK's investigation into Budi was 'invalid'.
As Law No. 30/2002 on the KPK prohibits the antigraft body from halting a corruption investigation, Umar said the current KPK leaders should not rush into handing the case to the Attorney General's Office (AGO) or the National Police, as earlier voiced by acting KPK chairman Taufiequrachman Ruki.
Umar added that handing over the case to either the police or the AGO could tarnish the credibility of the antigraft body.
'The KPK must also conduct an exposÃ© case forum on Budi's case. If the forum confirms that the KPK has no authority to proceed [as said by the verdict] then the hand over mechanism is possible [or the other way around],' Umar said.
Emerson Yuntho of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) lambasted Ruki for voicing such an option, adding that the KPK must continue Budi's investigation.
According to Emerson, the KPK risked losing public support if it transferred Budi's case.
He added that the Supreme Court must act to annul the controversial verdict.
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