Bambang resigns from KPK, tells Budi to follow suit

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto tendered his resignation to the KPK collective leadership on Monday, only days after being named a suspect in a perjury case by the National Police.

  • tendered – to offer something, usually in writing, or to make an offer in writing to do something
  • perjury – the crime of telling lies in court when you have promised to tell the truth

Later on Monday, the KPK leadership decided to reject Bambang’s proposal and allow President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to decide the fate of Bambang in the commission.

Bambang said that his resignation, if accepted, would only be temporary and that he made the decision in order to maintain the integrity of the antigraft body.

He said that although he was convinced that the case against him was orchestrated to weaken the KPK, he had a moral responsibility to resign from his post due to an internal regulation which requires the suspension of a commissioner if he or she is implicated in a criminal case.

Bambang also said that his decision should serve as an example for others in public office, a thinly veiled attack on Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, who declined to withdraw from his candidacy for the role of the country’s top cop in spite of the KPK’s decision to name him a suspect in a bribery case earlier this month.

“This is the manifestation of my responsibility as a leader. I am afraid that this kind of example is no longer being practiced. I just try to do what a good leader must do as the consequence of the mandate that he has been given,” the 56-year-old former lawyer said during a press conference on Monday.

The National Police declared Bambang a suspect on Friday for allegedly encouraging perjury in a local election dispute in 2010.

Bambang said that if the KPK leadership approved his resignation proposal, the antigraft body would soon submit a formal letter to the State Palace requesting the issuance of a presidential regulation on his temporary suspension.

The KPK has yet to issue any official information on Bambang’s proposal, but its chairman Abraham Samad earlier suggested that he would reject the proposal given the fraudulent nature of the charges against Bambang.

As suspicion grew that the case against Bambang was orchestrated, calls have mounted for the police to drop their probe on the KPK deputy chairman.

As Bambang’s team of lawyers continues to look for ways to force the National Police to issue a warrant to terminate the investigation (SP3) into his case, respected figures nationwide are currently trying to lobby Jokowi to instruct the National Police to halt the investigation.

KPK prevention unit deputy Johan Budi said that Bambang’s suspension would affect the KPK leadership’s work in finishing its high-profile cases in the remaining 11 months of its tenure in office.

The resignation of Bambang, if approved, would leave the KPK with only three commissioners.

“Learning from past experiences, the KPK must at least have three commissioners. If you said this turbulence stops us from conducting high-profile graft cases the answer is no. But if you asked whether this case slows down the KPK’s work, it is definitely yes. Each commissioner has their own responsibilities,” Johan said.

Meanwhile, Bambang’s team of lawyers has stepped up its fight against the prosecution of the KPK deputy chairman.

Bambang’s legal team said that it would file a criminal report against Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Sugianto Sabran, who filed a complaint against Bambang in the perjury case.

Bambang was also expected to file a report with the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) for being subjected to harsh treatment during his arrest on Friday.

Bambang claimed that he was handcuffed and verbally assaulted in front of his 10-year-old son Muhammad Yattaqi.

Bambang also said that the police arrested him without a warrant.

Earlier on Monday, a number of NGOs also filed a report with Komnas HAM regarding the alleged harsh treatment of Bambang.

Separately, Gajah Mada University Center for Anticorruption Studies (Pukat Korupsi) chairman Zainal Arifin Mochtar said that Budi Gunawan ought to voluntary give up his nomination as the National Police chief, as he no longer had the moral grounds to remain in the race.

“From a moral point of view, he [Budi] should have made the same decision [that Bambang has made] after being named a suspect,” Zainal said.

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