Bowing to demands from graft suspect Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, endorsed by the House of Representatives as the next National Police chief on Thursday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has forced serving National Police chief Gen. Sutarman to take early retirement.
A source at the Presidential Palace said that Jokowi had also dismissed National Police detective division head Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius and assigned him to be secretary of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas).
“Figures in the top ranks who strongly opposed Budi’s nomination as police chief have been replaced,” said the source.
Sutarman and Suhardi, a promising officer who leads reform at the graft-ridden institution, have been accused of helping provide the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) with evidence to prosecute Budi following reports of suspicious bank accounts in his name.
With opposition widespread across civil society, Jokowi has yet to inaugurate Budi, who currently serves as National Police head of education and training.
Jokowi has furthermore appointed National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti as acting national police chief. Like Budi, Badrodin is among a number of police generals to have held bank accounts considered suspicious by watchdog the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) in 2010.
Badrodin is known to be a mentor of Budi.
Budi’s assistant, the head of education and training for high-ranking officer Insp. Gen. Budi Waseso, is set to replace Suhardi.