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Jakarta Post

KPK, not police, should investigate university graft case, ICW says

  • Alya Nurbaiti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, June 4, 2020   /   03:05 pm
KPK, not police, should investigate university graft case, ICW says The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said in Jakarta on Nov. 30, 2015. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) has expressed disapproval over a decision by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to hand over a case of alleged bribery involving a Jakarta State University (UNJ) staff member to the police.

The ICW, which has long been monitoring the education sector for corruption, said the KPK should investigate the possibility of either bribery and extortion or illegal levies in the UNJ case.

The antigraft group said it believed the KPK could have investigated the case further.

“Not that we doubt the police, but the KPK has no reason to not investigate the case,” ICW activist Kurnia Ramadhana said in a virtual discussion on Tuesday.

“There was a clear involvement of state officials in the case, which is contrary to what the KPK has claimed.”

The KPK arrested Dwi Achmad Noor, the UNJ head of staffing, on May 20 and confiscated US$ 1,200 and Rp 27.5 million ($1,850), which were meant to be given to officials from the Education and Culture Ministry as holiday bonuses.

Read also: 2019 sees fewer corruption cases but bigger state losses: ICW

Following the arrest, KPK law enforcement deputy director Karyoto, without following formal procedure, published his own version of a press release saying that UNJ rector Komarudin allegedly accepted a total of Rp 55 million from the university’s departments and institutions through deans.

“So it makes no sense that the KPK said there was no involvement of state officials since the collection of money was done under the rector’s orders,” Kurnia said.

He said that, according to Law No. 28/1999 on clean governance, a rector is a state official. Moreover, Komarudin periodically reported his assets throughout 2019. 

The KPK, Kurnia said, had set a precedent by declaring a rector a suspect. In a case in 2016, the KPK named then-Airlangga University rector Fasichul Lisan a graft suspect for allegedly abusing his authority in a university project, resulting in Rp 85 billion in state losses.

Close relations between higher education institutions and the Education and Culture Ministry have prompted some to suspect possible corruption as the ministry has the power to propose budgets and appoint high-level officials at state universities, including the UNJ, with little transparency over budget management. The ministry controls 35 percent of the vote for rector elections at state universities.

 Read also: Antigraft group reports KPK deputy for ethics violation 

“We also disagree with the notion that the amount of alleged graft money was too little for the KPK to take the case,” Siti Juliantari Rachman of the ICW said.

According to ICW data, from 2015 to 2019, there were 202 corruption cases in the education sector involving 465 individuals, resulting in state losses of Rp 410.9 billion, with bribes totaling Rp 52.4 billion.

The most common modus operandi for corruption in the education sector is markups (40 cases), followed by embezzlement (37 cases), abuse of budget (36 cases), illegal levies (22 cases), fictitious projects (19 cases), abuse of authority (15 cases), fictitious reports (14 cases), cut money (12 cases), bribery (6 cases) and extortion (1 case). 

Out of 202 corruption cases, 20 cases took place within higher education, causing an estimated Rp 81.9 billion in state losses. 

Trends indicate that corruption in higher education includes the procurement of goods and services, grants funds, research funds, college budgets, scholarship funds, bribes over grades, bribes for accreditation and bribes over the selection of officials. 

Corruption in the education sector not only undermined education provider credibility but also impeded public access to education, decreased the quality of education and services and tarnished the values that should be upheld by educational institutions such as justice, transparency and accountability, the ICW said.