27 September 2009
The Police vs. KPK Spat Heats Up...
The spat between the Head of the Criminal Investigations Branch, Comr. Gen. Susno Duaji, and the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi / KPK) should nver have been allowed to get this far. The fact that it has highlights a complete lack of leadership at the pinnacle of Indonesian government. The president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, or SBY as he prefers, has seriously damaged his credentials as a fighter of corruption and has seriously undermined a basic tenet of his campaign platform.
By issuing an Interim Law allowing him to nominate new commissioners to the KPK without those prospective commissioners from going through the recognized standard vetting procedures makes a mockery of the successes the KPK and Indonesia have enjoyed to date in the fight against the scourge of corruption. If the president is thinking about a legacy and a spot on the world stage, then it is time he stood up on his principles and ended this repugnant abuse of power by the police.
The idea that an Interim Law is going to be used in this way is an attack on the independence of the KPK and undermines the legitimacy of the agency. It is an attack on democracy and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens as envisaged in Chapter XA of the Indonesian Constitution of 1945, and it is a step backwards to the authoritarian ways of the past.
All that aside, it appears that the spat is escalating with two of the KPK commissioners being further charged with bribery. This is in addition to them being declared suspects in an abuse of authority matter last week. However, the two commissioners, Chandra M Hamzah and Bibit Samad Rianto, are not going to sit back and allow the police to run roughshod over the law as it stands.
The legal team defending Chandra and Bibit have declared their intention to report the Head of the Criminal Investigations Branch, Comr. Gen. Susno Duaji, to the General Supervision Inspector (Inspektur Pengawasan Umum / Irwasum) at Police Headquarters. There are to be seven specific breaches of the prevailing laws and regulations that will form the bases of the report.
These include articles from Government Regulation No. 2 of 2003 (Art. 5 and 6(N), (O), and (Q)) and the Indonesian Criminal Code (Kitab Undang-undang Hukum Pidana / KUHP [Arts. 421 - 423]).
If successful in proving their case, then the KUHP articles in particular could see Duaji dishonourably discharged from the national police force.
This case is certain to get even more interesting as the KPK Defense Team is pushing hard and highlighting the fact that the police are seemingly on a fishing expedition in order to drum up any evidence that they can. Simply, the spokesperson for the KPK Defense Team, Luhut Pangaribuan, is regularly quoted as stating that the police just do not have the evidence to proceed in this matter and as a matter of course must stop the investigation.
If this is the case, and the police insist in continuing to pursue the case, then when the case does finally fall over, heads must role. There really needs to be presidential leadership on this one, and it is unfortunate to date that the president is seemingly siding with the police in their pursuit to dismantle the independent investigative authorities of the KPK.