It happened just as we predicted months ago. Since the police declared the chairman and a deputy of the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, as suspects and followed with a favorable ruling by the court for graft suspect police general Budi Gunawan, the antigraft body has been paralyzed while the nation’s spirit and energy to fight corruption is getting weaker every day.
Police are close to concluding their investigation into Abraham Samad and Bambang Widjojanto while the ruling by Judge Sarpin Rizaldi continues to have a destructive impact on Indonesia’s fight against corruption.
Anti-corruption activists and the public are gradually losing hope in the KPK as they regard the current leaders of the antigraft body — handpicked by President Joko Widodo — as only there to fill the void and being unable to make any major moves.
Meanwhile, graft suspect after graft suspect take turns to file pretrial lawsuits against KPK’s investigations against them, taking advantage of Sarpin’s ruling and hoping to defeat the antigraft body in court.
Former religious affairs minister Suryadharma is the first graft suspect to take advantage of the so-called “Sarpin Effect.” If he can convince the judge to overturn his suspect status and have the KPK’s investigation stopped, then we can almost hear the death bell of the antigraft war. It will be the end of the KPK and victory for the corruptors.
We can almost be certain that next graft suspect could achieve the same victory.
We are in a corruption emergency situation. In this time of emergency, anti-corruption activists, the media and the public in general must have a sense of crisis. The first thing to do is to overthrow Sarpin’s ruling. All law experts, media and antigraft watchdogs must unite in dismissing the ruling as a joke and even a violation of the law.
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