Saturday, October 13, 2012


Jakarta, Oct 13, 2012 (ANTARA) - Each time a fiasco occurs involving the National Police (Polri) and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is called upon to mediate and issue clear instructions on both law enforcement agencies` respective tasks.

The latest showdown between the two agencies culminated with police officers entering the KPK office on October 5 (Friday) and trying to arrest Police Commissioner Novel Baswedan, a KPK investigator who handled a vehicle simulator procurement corruption case allegedly involving, among others, a high ranking officer, Inspector General Djoko Susilo.

The police sought to detain Baswedan on October 5 and charged him with the fatal shooting that killed a civilian in Bengkulu, Sumatra, in 2004.

According to police investigation, Baswedan was the head of the Bengkulu police criminal unit at the time and was, therefore, responsible for the action of his men, who shot and killed a suspect following a robbery incident.

As the police officers arrived at the KPK building to question Novel Baswedan, hundreds of people flocked to the KPK offices to express support for Baswedan.

KPK chairman Abraham Samad was quoted by the Jakarta Post on October 6 as saying that the police attempt to arrest Baswedan on Friday evening - just hours after the commission interrogated the police general - was intentionally aimed at weakening the anti-graft body.

Over the following weekend, many activists, public figures and politicians expressed hope that the dispute between the National Police and the KPK would be resolved soon, since it could hamper the country`s efforts to eradicate corruption. Also, some members of the public launched "Save KPK" campaigns.

The police, however, denied that the effort to arrest Baswedan was an attempt by the police to weaken or criminalize the KPK.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar, during a discussion on "KPK vs Polri - A Dream of Corruption Eradication" organized by Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) here on Saturday (Oct 13), said the National Police and KPK share a common spirit in fighting corruption.

"We, in fact, share a common spirit, though there are several views portraying the KPK and Polri as being in trouble. The relations between Polri and KPK are more about working together," said Amar.

He added that the anti-graft body and the police need the public`s support in carrying out their tasks to combat corruption.

Despite the denial, the dean of the law faculty at the University of Indonesia, Hikmahanto Juwono, earlier suggested five steps to resolve the ongoing conflict between KPK and the police.

"The five solutions are expected to help strengthen the legal enforcement institutions and help them regain the public`s trust," he said.

"First, the President should ask the National Police chief to allow the anti-graft body handle the driving simulator procurement case," he recently said in a press statement.

Juwono also noted that the legal debate about corruption cases involving members of law enforcement agencies should come to an end.

"In the driving simulator procurement case, one of the main suspects is a police officer - so the case should be handled by KPK in order to prevent a conflict of interest," he added.

Second, Juwano said, the police must not recall those detectives currently working with KPK.

"The police detectives include those who reported themselves to the police headquarters and were given new assignments. They should be returned to KPK to continue their unfinished tasks," he added.

According to Juwono, the police detectives should be recalled only after a confirmation from KPK that they have completed their tasks.

Third, he stated, police detectives seeking a permanent career in KPK should abide by police procedures. "KPK must respect the ethics of other institutions," Juwono pointed out.

"Fourth, the police must stop the legal maneuvering that could be perceived by the public as efforts to weaken the KPK and to prevent police officers from being investigated," he noted.

Finally, Juwono said, the national police chief should "order an investigation into the true intentions of the Bengkulu police chief with regard to arresting Police Commissioner Novel Baswedan". Such an investigation should involve the Police National Commission (Kompolnas), he added.

"The point is to find out whether the arrest was really necessary," Juwono explained.

In response to the public`s expectation, President Yudhoyono, in a televised speech on October 8, announced that the government will issue a regulation to rearrange the assignment of police investigators at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

"The period of the police investigator`s assignment at the KPK that has led to a dispute needs to be rearranged by issuing a government regulation," the President said at the State Palace here on Monday night.

Additionally, the technical implementation of the government regulation may be set forth in a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions, he added.

He said the assignment of police investigators at the KPK is currently based on article 5, sub-article 3 of a government regulation stipulating that the assignment of civil servants at other state agencies covers a maximum period of four years and can be extended for another four years.

If the period of assignment under the government regulation is considered so short that it might impede investigations, then the government may issue a new regulation to replace it, he said.

The President also stated that the KPK should be the only law enforcement agency assigned to the National Police driving simulator procurement graft case.

"The KPK will also investigate the implication of other officials related to the case," he said, adding that the provision was in compliance with Article 50 of Law No. 30/2002 on the KPK`s authority in investigating graft cases.

The article stipulates that the National Police and the Attorney General`s Office should halt investigations into a graft case once the KPK takes over the probe.

The KPK named Djoko as the main suspect in early August and alleged that he had abused his authority to enrich himself and others and caused state losses of Rp 190 billion (US$19.81 million) in the procurement of 700 two-wheel and 556 four-wheel vehicle simulators last year.

Although the KPK was the first institution to probe the case, the National Police had initially insisted on conducting their own investigation.

The president, however, said that the police would probe other fraudulent procurement projects within the institution.

"The hope of the police to legally process Novel Baswedan is, I view, not proper according to its timing or its method," added Yudhoyono, who also admitted that the two agencies "aren`t working well" together.

Earlier, Yudhoyono called both KPK Chairman Abraham Samad and National Police Chief General Timur Prodopo following the increased tensions between both agencies.

"It is better now that we step up our joint actions and intensity the efforts to fight corruption," Yudhoyono said after the meeting with officials from both KPK and the police.

The police accepted the president`s statements, which have been seen as supporting KPK. Various parties have also lauded the president`s stance, seen as strengthening the anti-corruption measures.

For instance, the anti-corruption Indonesian NGOs Federation (Felsmi) expressed its appreciation for the President`s speech, which is expected to end the dispute between the two law enforcement agencies.

Chairman of Felsmi H.M. Jusuf Rizal said the speech was very effective and "a breath of fresh air in the process of corruption eradication in Indonesia."

"It shows that the President is very open to accommodate the growing aspirations in society, especially those of the anti-corruption activists," he added.

"Yudhoyono`s speech clearly gave a lot of support to the KPK, but the President also criticized the Commission for being `too excessive`," he noted.

Rizal further expressed his hope that the President`s support could encourage the KPK to improve how it operates, particularly in investigating the driving license simulator case.

He also expressed his appreciation for the President`s move to organize the KPK and the National Police, so that the two national institutions could cooperate in eradicating corruption in Indonesia.

Legislator Indra of the Justice Prosperous Party (KPK) also praised Yudhoyono`s speech.

"I appreciated the president`s speech last night. This time, the president is firm, clear, to the point, and can reflect the public`s aspiration," Indra said. ***1***


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