NEW LEADERS, NEW OFFICE AND NEW HOPE FOR ANTI-GRAFT AGENCY by Fardah
Jakarta, Jan 2, 2015 (Antara) - Indonesia has entered the new year of 2016 with new hope of its dream to become a corruption-free nation as the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) with a new five-member panel.
It also has a new 16-storey office building located in the heart of the city. The new KPK leaders who will work for the next four years, were installed by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on December 22, 2015 after they had passed the fit-and-proper tests by the House of Representatives (DPR). Agus Rahardjo is the new head of the KPK, and his four deputies are Alexander Marwata, Basaria Panjaitan, Laode Muhammad Syarif and Saut Situmorang. A week later, on December 29, Jokowi inaugurated KPK¿s new building, expressing his hope that the building would mark the continuation of the agency's struggle. The new office is built on an 8,663-square-meter plot of land using the concept of "secure", "smart", and "green." The construction of the 16-story building, with a total space of 39,629 square meters, began on November 29, 2013. The building was constructed at a cost of Rp315.15 billion allocated in the State Budget. The inauguration of the building, located on Kuningan Persada Street, Kav. 4, South Jakarta, coincided with the 12th anniversary of the KPK. Over the past 12 years, the Commission has become part of the nation's history in the fight against corruption. So far, the KPK has managed to win the public's trust and meet expectations in their efforts to make Indonesia free of corruption, according to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi). Jokowi urged the Commission to work in a more professional, intensive, and sustainable manner to uphold the public's trust. He had always supported and encouraged the KPK, the President stated. "Like every Indonesian, I pin high hopes on the KPK to realize clean governance and a corruption-free Indonesia," the President emphasized. The commission remains an independent body, which is free of political influence, he noted. The independence of the KPK must be reflected in its legal measures, which are professional, credible, transparent, and accountable, he remarked. "This is in the interest of every Indonesian. Indonesia could progress to become a big nation if we are free from corruption," he affirmed. The KPK would face heavier challenges in future as corruption cases would increase in number and complexity, the President has forecast. "But, the KPK will also have to meet high public expectations with regard to its performance," Jokowi said. He, however, expressed optimism that every challenge would be dealt with by strengthening the institutional capacity and the competency of human resources. Indonesia's third president B.J. Habibie, sixth president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), and the ninth vice president Hamzah Haz, were also present during the inauguration ceremony of the KPK office building. "I fully support the agency, and hope it will become even stronger," SBY remarked after the ceremony. The nation pins big hopes on the commission which has become the nation's backbone in its fight against corruption, he affirmed. Agus Rajardjo, the new chief, after reading out the oath of office at the State Palace, on December 22, 2015, expressed confidence at leading the agency. "This is the risk of taking charge of the office. Certainly, we need not be afraid," he stated. It would take him and his colleagues some one to two weeks to consolidate the facts on major cases being handled by the agency, Rajardjo clarified. He was still unsure which case would be given priority, but confirmed that synergy with other agencies would be increased, he said. "Synergy with other institutions will be stepped up and improved," he affirmed. In the meantime, the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) has expressed doubts that the new KPK commissioners, for the 2015-2019 period could move fast in handling corruption cases because they tend to prioritize preventive measures. "The five leaders of KPK selected by the Commission III of the House of Representatives (DPR) tend to prioritize prevention," Coordinator of the Law and Court Monitoring Division of the ICW Emerson Juntho said during a discussion on "The Fourth Edition of KPK". The selection of five new leaders is not encouraging because the Parliament seemed to select figures who agree with the revision of the KPK law, he said. Those wanting to revise the KPK Law basically intend to weaken the authorities of the KPK, the NGO suspected. "If the KPK Law is revised, we are worried that the KPK that has been operating well over the past 12 years will be weakened," he remarked. The legislators also tended to appoint those focusing on the prevention aspect. If the KPK prioritizes prevention, then it should be renamed the Corruption Prevention Commission, he said. Three incumbent KPK leaders, Johan Budi, Busyro Muggoddas, and Bambang Widjanarko, were not re-selected, he regretted. "We believe that the three names could have continued the KPK leadership's work," he noted. The newly appointed KPK leaders are freshmen and they would need to adapt and understand the process to move swiftly in eradicating corruption, according to him. Earlier, former KPK commissioner Johan Budi had expressed his rejection of the bill on KPK, claiming that it would only weaken the agency. "I often read statements saying that the KPK law is being revised to strengthen the KPK. However, when the draft was made public, the content showed that, in fact, it would amount to weakening the KPK. If the content of the draft is correct, I disagree (with the bill), and I reject (the bill)," Johan Budi said while attending a test to find whether as a candidate for KPK leadership, he was "fit and proper." The test was before the Commission III of the House of Representatives (DPR) at the Parliament building, last December. Among some of the points in the revised draft of the KPK that he rejected were those connected to restricting the term of the KPK to only 12 years, and to abolish the agency's authority to prosecute. Regarding a plan to establish a KPK Leadership Supervisory Council, the council should not supervise the KPK leaders in how they work, but should instead monitor whether they work in an ethical manner or not, he said. "For instance, if the KPK leaders have named a person as a suspect, the Supervisory Council may not call the leaders, because it falls within the authority of the KPK leadership. The Supervisory Council should only monitor their ethics. For instance, it should determine if a KPK leader is involved in politics," he said. "These, in my opinion, are not meant to strengthen, but will actually weaken the KPK. I reject these, and if because of my doing so, I will not be selected (as KPK leader), I don't mind that," Johan Budi, who was in fact not selected by the House, stated. ***2*** (f001/INE/S012)