While resisting attacks from the National Police on its commissioners, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is still getting no help from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who refuses to intervene in the attempts by police to engineer legal cases against the agency’s leaders.
President Jokowi met with Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly, Attorney General HM Prasetyo and National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti on Saturday, but did not invite any representatives from the KPK to the discussions.
Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto denied that the exclusion of the KPK from the meeting was related to the recent cases that have hampered its commissioners. He said that the meeting was aimed at discussing new methods to strengthen efforts to fight corruption.
“The KPK should still function [in the fight against corruption] and should not be distracted by the current legal processes [against its commissioners],” Andi told reporters after the meeting.
After naming National Police chief candidate Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan a suspect in a bribery case two weeks ago, in the past two days two criminal allegations have been filed against two of the antigraft body’s commissioners.
The National Police named on Friday KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto a suspect for encouraging perjury in an election dispute case, while another deputy chairman, Adnan Pandu Praja, was reported to the police for illegally taking over the shares of a logging company, PT Desy Timber, in Berau, East Kalimantan.
“Adnan Pandu Praja and an associate, Indra Wargadalem, took the company’s shares illegally in 2006 by forging notary certificates when they were the company’s lawyers,” said Mukhlis Ramlan, a lawyer representing the company.
He said the company had filed police reports with the Berau Police and the East Kalimantan Police, but they were ignored.
The legal processes may put the antigraft body into paralysis as only two KPK leaders will remain to lead the institution if Bambang and Adnan are forced to resign because of the cases. Another deputy chairman, Busyro Muqoddas, ended his term in December.
The 2002 KPK Law stipulates that KPK commissioners who have been declared suspects in criminal cases should be suspended, while the same law also regulates that a decision by the institution can only be made with a quorum of at least three KPK commissioners.
Andi said the President has ordered the National Police to proceed with the lawsuits according to the law and to refrain from taking other actions during the process.
“The President is currently preparing steps to guarantee the KPK will maintain its function of ensuring a clean government,” said Andi.
He said the steps include the possible issuing of a warrant to terminate the investigation (SP3) into Bambang’s case.
“The President wants to make sure the legal steps taken on the [Budi] and [Bambang] cases are based on current laws,” said Andi.
The palace, however, is also considering issuing a regulation to suspend Bambang from his post in the KPK should the police send confirmation of his status as a suspect.
During an interview with Kompas TV on Saturday, Jokowi said he refused to intervene in the legal processes involving the KPK and the National Police as he was giving both institutions the chance “to do the right thing and avoid acting above the law”.
“If I intervene the people will also protest. The KPK and [National Police] should both be saved,” he said.
He also demanded political parties, his ministers and civil society groups not to intervene the process.
While expecting both institutions to act according to law, he also encouraged police officers to answer the KPK’s summonses to testify in Budi’s case.
Meanwhile, Bambang said he was considering resigning as KPK commissioner because of his status as a suspect.
“I have to demonstrate that I have a moral and ethical responsibility as a suspect to resign from my position during an investigation. However, I will discuss it first with the other commissioners and if they agree, they will send a letter to the President,” he said.
Although so far only two commissioners have been accused of crimes, speculation is rife that fellow KPK commissioner Zulkarnain will likewise face legal battles intended to prevent the KPK from completing the Budi investigation.
Attacks against KPK leaders
Chairman Abraham Samad
A day after the KPK declared National Police chief nominee Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan a graft suspect on Jan. 13, several tampered photographs from an unidentified sender were circulated. They purported to show Abraham having an affair with “Miss Indonesia” pageant winner Elvira Devinamira Wirayanti.
On Thursday, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) accused Abraham of abusing his power in retaliation for the failure of his bid to become Jokowi’s vice presidential candidate.
Deputy Bambang Widjojanto
Bambang was arrested by the police on Friday for allegedly encouraging perjury in a local election dispute in 2010. He was freed later in the day. Bambang was reported by PDI-P politician Sugianto Sabran, who is known as a timber kingpin in Kalimantan.
Deputy Adnan Pandu Praja
He was reported on Saturday to the National Police by executives of a timber company. Adnan was accused of illegally taking over the shares of PT Desy Timber in 2006.
While no reports have yet been filed against him, the former prosecutor is also prone to being accused of criminality. His opponents recently alleged he tampered with a graft case while he served as East Java chief prosecutor in 2009. The case revolved around the disbursement of provincial funds under the so-called P2SEM program.
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