Friday, September 11, 2009

Gecko vs Komodo & Corruption Eradication

Police (giant crocodile, Komodo) has named Chandra M. Hamzah, vice chairman of Corruption Eradication Commission/KPK (gecko, small house-lizard) as suspect in a bribery scandal involving PT Masaro, a move considered as a death bell for fights against corruption.

It's Susno Duadji, head of the criminal investigation unit at National Police HQ, who equalled Indonesian police force with giant crocodile (buaya in Indonesia) and KPK as gecko. Duadji clearly refers to "imbalance of power" between the two organizations.

The terms could also be interpreted as "threat" from police side to KPK. They want to say, " hey, be careful. We could eat you out without traces. Get out of our way" when KPK wiretapped Duadji's cellphone out of suspicions that Duadji "got something out of releasing Boedi Sampoerna's funds at Bank Century."

Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) considers the latest move from police as a strategic maneuver to weaken KPK in corruption eradication.

War between police and KPK escalated in recent months. Yesterday, police grilled three KPK leaders for what police called "abuse of power" in the imposition of overseas travel ban for fugitive businessman Djoko Tjandra and Anggoro Widjaja (detained in bribery scandal).

Police also grilled KPK leaders to clarify allegations raised by suspended KPK chairman Antasari Azhar that his former colleagues took bribery from PT Masaro boss Anggoro Widjaja. Azhar has been detained in a murder case and is being prosecuted in a different bribery scandal. Anggoro told police that he gave out Rp6 billion to two KPK officials.

KPK, on the other hand, has long investigated Bank Century scandal, including involvement of Susno Duadji in the case. Susno played crucial role in the release of US$18 million funds owned by PT Lancar Sampoerna Bestari (Boedi Sampoerna) from the troubled Bank Century. There were allegations that the fee was about US$1 million.

President SBY once "brokered" a "peace deal" between police and KPK at the State Palace, asking both institutions to work hand-in-hand in fighting corruption.

Well, war between police and KPK would only benefiting corruptors. Not to mention the recent maneuver to cut significantly KPK's prosecution rights through the currently debated corruption crime bill. KPK, if the bill passed into law, will only have the rights to launch corruption investigation, but will not be able to prosecute corruptors. The prosecution rights will be solely in the hands of Attorney General's Office (AGO).

But we can't also assume that KPK officers are free from corruption and bribery. Antasari Azhar's case has ruined the agency's credibility severely. KPK has emerged into a powerful institution. Legislators, government officers, and their partners in crime hate the institution a lot. As happened throughout the history, power tend to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So, it is important to check the power of these institutions---police, AGO, KPK, court system, etc. Still, public consider KPK performed better than both police and AGO. So, would be a death bell for the country's anti-corruption fights if we fail to strengthen synergy between these institutions. In this context, just like police grilled KPK leaders, let KPK also grill police officers, including Susno Duadji. 

But due to the current war where both sides have lost their objectivity in the cases, may be it's better to establish an ad hoc team to handle the cases until things return to normal. (by Haryanto Suharman & Yosef Ardi, taken from




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