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Yudhoyono's anti-graft policy

Publication Date : 10-10-2012


Amid the systematic moves to undermine the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) recently, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s speech on Monday night has given the antigraft body and, hence, the nationwide fight against corruption, a second wind.

It comes as a pleasant surprise for those who had started to doubt Yudhoyono’s commitment to the campaign against corruption ever since referring to the KPK as a “superbody” a few years ago. His remarks are all the KPK need to move on in its investigation into alleged corruption surrounding the procurement of driving simulators, implicating former National Police Traffic Corps (Korlantas) chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, which had caused the recent standoff between the two law enforcement agencies.

The President’s statement should, therefore, constitute an order to the National Police to allow and support the KPK’s probe by, among other things, surrendering to the commission other suspects in the case.

Following the KPK’s move to search the Korlantas offices that led to its naming Djoko as a suspect last month, the police launched their own probe into the case and subsequently named five suspects, including Djoko’s former deputy, Brig. Gen. Didik Purnomo.

Police resistance was more visible when they unilaterally withdrew 20 investigators seconded to the KPK and climaxed on Friday night last week when a group of police officers stormed KPK headquarters to arrest one of the investigators handling the driving simulators case, Comr. Novel Baswedan, for alleged misconduct in 2004.

Thanks to the president’s support, the KPK should have no difficulties in broadening its investigation to all parties involved in the case, including other senior police officers.

However embarrassing and painful the president’s rap on police knuckles is, his address should spark fresh momentum for the force to clean up the institution and restore public confidence. The president’s trust in the police to handle instances of misconduct within the Traffic Corps other than the driving simulators case necessitates concrete action, or else the KPK will take over investigations in
accordance with the KPK Law.

No less important was the president’s concilliatory message to the KPK and the police to cease their repeated bickering, which will require the two institutions to allocate more time to formulate cooperation arrangements between them. Infighting between the two law enforcement agencies will only inhibit the national drive against corruption.

Indeed, the president deserves credit for drawing a clear line in response to the latest standoff between two agencies. We only regret the fact that the president’s kudo came after the mounting public outcry against attempts to undermine the KPK.

To further show his commitment to corruption eradication, the president may consider allocating a handsome budget to the KPK.

An increased budget would not only maintain the commission’s independence and integrity, but it would also help in hiring a sufficient number of investigators and improving their competence. Fraudsters in Indonesia and elsewhere will always search for new ways to escape from the corruption busters’ radar.


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