The Jakarta Post
Five newly elected Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) leaders pose an internal threat to the commission's very existence, activists fear.
West Sumatra Anticorruption Integrity Institution chairman Arif Paderi said recently that attempts to diminish the role of the anticorruption body had been in play since the beginning of the House of Representatives' screening of potential new KPK commissioners.
The selection committee from House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, Arif said, had included candidates with a dubious commitment to eradicating corruption, with some candidates having no background in corruption eradication and other having, as judges, found in favor of graft suspects.
"There were indications of a grand design to weaken the KPK and [to hamper] corruption eradication. Those indications have been proven to be true. Farewell, KPK," Arif said as quoted by Tempo.co.
On Thursday, Commission III elected to the KPK leadership Alexander Marwata, Basaria Panjaitan, Laode Syarif, Saut Situmorang and Agus Rahardjo, the latter as chairman.
According to Arif, it would have been naÃ¯ve to expect the House to choose candidates with a firm commitment to fighting corruption, or to expect President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo to intervene.
"Jokowi does not care about the attempts to weaken the KPK and hamper the eradication of corruption," he said, adding that a planned revision to the KPK Law would further undermine the commission.
Similarly, Hifdzil Alim, a researcher from the Anticorruption Studies Center at Gadjah Mada University, said that the KPK would be destroyed from the inside, with the five new commissioners acting as a Trojan horse.
Hifdzil noted that Alexander, a former Jakarta Corruption Court ad hoc judge, had previously released a number of corruption suspects, that National Police General Basaria was weak and subservient, that Saut had a record of nepotism and that Agus, a former manager of the National Procurement Agency, had repeatedly ignored the suspicious wealth reports of a number of government officials.
"During screening, several of them even tried to butter up lawmakers by attacking the KPK," he added.
Another Anticorruption Studies Center researcher, Zaenur Rochman, said that most of the five new commissioners were in favor of the KPK Law revision, while others wanted to end investigations into the Bank Century and Bank Indonesia liquidity support cases.
"Some of them seemed to believe that reporting on corruption cases lowers the corruption perception index, while others lambasted the KPK for entrapment," Zaenur said.(afr/dan)
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