04 July 2008

DPR warns the KPK

It appears the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) has taken offence that the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has been arresting serving members of the DPR. The total is five at last count and seems destined to increase. Perhaps the should rename the DPR to the House of Rupiah.

The DPR is most concerned that the KPK is criminalizing legislators. Yes, if you are thinking that this sounds a little ridiculous, you're right! The legislators are criminalizing themselves by accepting bribes, by partaking in graft, and through generally stupid behaviour.

Commission III deals with legal affairs and in a closed-door meeting yesterday they had the KPK leadership in their sites for a "please explain". The Chair of Commission III, a former lawyer by the name of Trimedya Panjaitan, has demanded that the KPK if it is conducting supervision of legislators that it divulge how they are doing it and the methods that they use.

Panjaitan's rationale is that people have rights that must be protected. Indeed they do! However, provided the KPK follow the procedures set out in the law that governs them and their activities then everything is above board. This would include the surveillance of members of parliament. As I recall there is nothing in the law that requires the KPK to notify the DPR of any intent it has of conducting surveillance. If it did then this may well defeat the purpose of gathering intelligence and conducting the surveillance.

Perhaps the DPR's beef with the KPK is that the arrests have been highly visible affairs and with solid media coverage of the events. This is some what embarrassing and when you consider the arrests to date are the tip of the iceberg then it appears there is considerably greater levels of embarrassment to follow.

Panjaitan also seems some what aggrieved that the DPR is coughing up suspects but the executive is not. He has wondered out loud and on the record why it is only DPR members feeling the full force of the KPK while the executive gets off scott free. To me this says, Panjaitan knows about corruption in the executive or that the executive is smarter than the DPR or that there has been no corruption identified yet in the executive. Either way, the KPK will go after the executive if there is something to go after. But let's face it, the DPR is keeping the KPK pretty busy at the moment.

It seems unlikely that Commission III will have any luck in pressuring the KPK into back-tracking on investigations. Simply, the KPK will continue to garner increased public support whilever it is seen to be seriously tackling the corruption problems afflicting Indonesia. Therefore, there is no need to pander to the interests of some scared members of parliament.

As the saying goes if you have done nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear.

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