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Jakarta Post

Stop prosecuting, start preventing, lawmakers tell KPK

  • Fedina S. Sundaryani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, December 20, 2015   /  02:21 pm

Lawmakers have expressed hope that a new batch of Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) leaders will place a greater focus on preventing corruption than on prosecuting violators of corruption laws.

Dwi Ria Latifa, a member of House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, said on Saturday that the KPK, under the new leadership of five commissioners selected by lawmakers earlier this week, should put more effort into extirpating the root causes of corruption, as well as educating the nation'€™s youth to ensure that future generations of leaders do not commit graft.

'€œ[The KPK] must find a way to create long-term solutions, with the help of the National Police and the Attorney General'€™s Office [AGO]. They must convey to our children that committing corruption is a shameful thing to do, for their families as much as for themselves,'€ Dwi said during a discussion in Central Jakarta.

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker also emphasized the importance for the KPK of working as a team, as internal conflict could hamper the commission'€™s work.

'€œWe hope that there will be consolidation among KPK employees to forestall further conflict. Otherwise, the KPK will not be able to work efficiently,'€ she said.

On Thursday, House Commission III voted for a new KPK leadership lineup comprising former National Procurement Agency (LKPP) manager Agus Raharjo, former Jakarta Corruption Court ad hoc judge Alexander Marwata, National Police cadre and Command School (Sespimti) lecturer Insp. Gen. Basaria Panjaitan, Makassar-based Hasanuddin University law professor Laode Muhammad Syarif and Saut Situmorang, an expert from the National Intelligence Agency (BIN).

Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) lawmaker Muhammad Nasir Djamil expressed a similar hope that the new set of KPK leaders, who will be inaugurated by President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo on Monday, would also set corruption prevention as their main objective.

'€œOne of the things that I feel [the KPK] has been neglecting is conducting prevention efforts. We hope that the KPK can build a system with the Supreme Audit Agency [BPK] and Development Finance Comptroller [BPKP] that can detect irregularities before they happen,'€ Nasir said.

He added that the KPK should continue their investigations and prosecutions, but should be more selective and process only '€œbig fish'€ cases that involved considerable state losses.

'€œ[The KPK] should only go after the big fish, so that large sums can be returned to the state. If I'€™m not mistaken, only Rp 3 trillion [US$215.9 million] has ever been returned [as a result of KPK prosecutions] because it is only ever the small fish that are arrested,'€ he said.

Meanwhile, Saut said that once inaugurated, he would steer the KPK toward a greater focus on corruption prevention.

'€œPersonally, I feel the KPK should focus 80 percent on prevention. That way, we won'€™t see people'€™s dignity being impugned,'€ he said.

If people were made more aware of the damage caused by corruption, Saut said, they would be less likely to engage in it.

Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) member Emerson Yuntho, however, said he was highly skeptical about the future of the KPK if its purpose was narrowed to prevention efforts.

'€œI'€™m worried that the KPK will stop being the '€˜Corruption Eradication Commission'€™ and become the '€˜Corrupt People'€™s Protection Commission'€™. Corrupt people would be delighted if the KPK stopped arresting people and focused solely on prevention,'€ Emerson said.

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