[This story was first published at 3:10 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20, 2014, and this update includes additional comments and change in headline]
Jakarta. Indonesia’s newly inaugurated antigraft chief has vowed to continue investigating the cases currently being handled by the anti-corruption commission, but stopped short of saying whether this includes the case of former police chief candidate Budi Gunawan.
“There are a number of suspects still being investigated,” Taufiequrachman Ruki, the interim chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, told reporters after his inauguration at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Friday.
“Of course it is the KPK investigators’ job to finish [the cases]. We will see what the resolutions will be.”
Ruki dodged questions about whether the KPK would resume its probe into Budi, a police general whom the antigraft commission last month named a suspect after identifying at least Rp 54 billion ($4.2 million) in transactions through his personal bank accounts between 2003 and 2006.
Ruki did, however, indicate that even if the KPK could not pursue the case, the police or the Attorney General’s Office should take over.
“The KPK doesn’t have a mechanism for dropping a case; what it does have is the ability to pass it on to the police or prosecutors,” he said.
Budi’s naming as a suspect prompted a seemingly retaliatory backlash from the police, who launched a series of dubious probes into the KPK’s commissioners based on cold cases up to a decade old.
More than a month after tensions broke out, President Joko Widodo earlier this week withdrew his nomination of Budi and suspended two of the KPK’s four commissioners who were named criminal suspects by the police: chairman Abraham Samad and deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto.
The president also named Ruki and two others, Johan Budi and Indriyanto Seno Adji, to serve as interim KPK commissioners. Ruki, who chaired the KPK from 2003 to 2007, will stand in for Abraham, while Johan, the KPK’s former spokesman and current deputy for graft prevention, will replace Bambang.
Indriyanto, a criminal law professor at the University of Indonesia, takes the post left vacant by Busyro Muqoddas, a deputy chairman whose term in office ended in December and was not renewed.
Appealing the pretrial ruling
The KPK’s current spokesman, Priharsa Nugraha, indicated that the commission would continue to pursue its case against Budi, by challenging a ruling on a pretrial motion that declared the KPK’s naming him as a suspect flawed.
“The decision has been made and we will carry on with the legal process by filing an appeal against the pretrial motion,” Priharsa said.
He added that the KPK had studied the legal options available to it and consulted with notable lawyers and legal experts including Refly Harun, Denny Indrayana, Zainal Arifin Mochtar and Saldi Isra.
The Supreme Court said separately that it would accommodate the appeal.
Legal experts contend that the judge hearing the pretrial motion at the South Jakarta District Court, Sarpin Rizaldi, exceeded his authority by revoking Budi’s status as a suspect.
Under the Criminal Code Procedures, the purpose of the pretrial motion was simply to determine whether the KPK’s procedure to name Budi a suspect was valid; the court did not have the authority to revoke the suspect status, no matter its findings.
Judge Sarpin, in his ruling, argued that at the time of the alleged transactions, Budi served as the National Police’s human resources chief and was thus neither a law enforcer nor a public official, hence not subject to the KPK’s jurisdiction.
The KPK is, by law, authorized to investigate any cases of suspected corruption involving sums of at least Rp 1 billion — a fraction of Budi’s suspect transactions.
The decision has been made and we will carry on with the legal process by filing an appeal against the pretrial motion
Priharsa Nugraha, KPK spokesman
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