Jakarta. The National Police have promised to drop pending investigations into two antigraft deputies, but say ongoing probes against two others will continue, in effect lending credence to widely held views that the charges are trumped up.
“The cases in which the suspects have been charged will continue,” Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, the deputy National Police chief, said on Tuesday as quoted by Kompas.com, referring to investigations against suspended Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Abraham Samad and suspended deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto. “Those cases in which no suspects have been named will be halted,” Badrodin added.
Those cases pertain to two dozen KPK officials, including the two other deputy chairmen, Adnan Pandu Praja and Zulkarnain.
All four commissioners have been the subjects of criminal complaints filed with the police, mostly by individuals affiliated to the Indonesian National Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, following the KPK’s naming in January of Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, President Joko Widodo’s previous nominee for police chief, as a suspect for bribery and money laundering.
The sudden onslaught of cases brought by the police, some of them a decade old and all leveled on dubious grounds, has raised accusations of a retaliation by the police against the KPK over the Budi fiasco.
Abraham has been charged with allegedly helping a prominent graft convict receive a reduced sentence last year in exchange for political backing from the convict’s party to support Abraham’s alleged bid to become vice president.
In a separate case, the South Sulawesi Police have charged Abraham with document forgery after he allegedly falsified a document to help a woman, Feriyani Lim, apply for a passport in 2007.
Suspended deputy chief Bambang Widjojanto is accused of compelling witnesses to commit perjury in an election dispute case that he handled as a lawyer in 2010.
Police are targeting the two other KPK commissioners and 22 of its investigators in a multitude of cold cases.
With President Joko withdrawing Budi’s nomination last month and putting forward Badrodin — while at the same time suspending Abraham and Bambang — the police appear to be easing up from their attack on the antigraft commission.
Badrodin, however, denied that the police were attempting to undermine the KPK, saying that all of the investigations were based on reports filed by members of the public.
“We will try to get [the plaintiffs] to understand so that [the cases] are no longer pursued, but we can’t guarantee [they] will agree,” he said.
Joko has appointed three interim commissioners to replace the now suspended KPK leaders as well as former deputy chairman Busyro Muqoddas, whose term in office expired last December but who was not replaced.
The interim leaders on Monday submitted their case on Budi to the Attorney General’s Office, with interim chairman Taufiequrachman Ruki saying the KPK “has lost” in trying to go after the controversial police general.
Ruki was referring to a ruling last month by the South Jakarta District Court in a pretrial motion filed by Budi, which found the KPK’s naming of Budi as a suspect was invalid.
Interim KPK commissioner Johan Budi appeared to hint on Monday that handing over Budi’s case to the AGO was done largely to stop the wave of retaliatory attacks by the police against the KPK.
“The situation inside the KPK is uncomfortable [...] because of all of these [police] summonses. Therefore, steps must be taken quickly by the KPK,” he said at the AGO headquarters in South Jakarta.
Another interim KPK commissioner, Indriyanto Seno Adji, said the handover was the legal option that “carries the least amount of risk” for the KPK.
Ghosts at the KPK
Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo has already indicated his office will not pursue the case against Budi. The development has sparked anger from antigraft activists and officials and supporters of the KPK, which has a 100 percent conviction rate against every individual it has ever named a suspect throughout its 12-year history.
Hundreds of KPK employees and investigators on Tuesday staged a demonstration outside the KPK building in South Jakarta to protest the handover of the Budi case to the AGO, accusing the interim commissioners of being “ghosts who are afraid of the police.”
The employees demanded that the KPK leaders take back jurisdiction of the case and seek a case review with the Supreme Court against the earlier ruling, and also to be transparent about their corruption eradication strategies.
“Who knows what [the KPK leaders] will do next? Will all cases be treated like commodities?” one of the protesters said in an address to the crowd. “This morning, everyone can see that the KPK is dying. Our struggle has flagged under these ghosts who have come to this building. These ghosts are afraid of the [National Police]. We are not afraid. This building is never afraid.”
Ruki, who was present at the protest along with Indriyanto, argued that Budi’s case was more trouble than it was worth, saying that it had consumed the attention of everyone at the KPK and kept them from pursuing other cases.
But legal experts contend that with the AGO all but certain to drop the case, the handover will only embolden corruption suspects to file pretrial motions to have the charges against them dropped before they are even indicted in a court.
“We are very disappointed with the handover, particularly because the KPK still has other legal avenues,” said Erwin Natosmal Oemar, a researcher with the Indonesia Legal Roundtable.
Erwin said he suspected that the appointment of Ruki and Indriyanto by Joko to the KPK was part of an ongoing attempt to undermine the KPK.
Ruki, who was the KPK’s inaugural chairman from 2003 to 2007, is a retired police general, while Indriyanto is a criminal law professor better known for representing controversial individuals in court.
The third interim commissioner, Johan, has served with the KPK for nearly nine years.
Regional Representatives Council (DPD) Speaker Irman Gusman said Ruki had some explaining to do to people who believed the KPK should press on with Budi’s case. He also said Ruki and Indriyanto were “tarnishing the image” of Joko.
“The president must examine [the handover]. There is an insubordination toward the president’s pledge to fight corruption,” Irman said.
Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto said the president had appointed the three interim chiefs mainly to create “a synergy between law enforcers.”
“After that is achieved, [the next task] is how to create a system to eradicate corruption focusing on the synergy between law enforcers. So the KPK, the prosecutors and police can be one team to eradicate corruption and not only focus on each other’s cases alone,” he said.
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