New KPK leaders to continue fight against corruption

Rahardjo said he would enhance the synergy with other agencies in the effort to fight corruption.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has named new leaders to continue its fight against corruption for the next five years, after the term of the current leadership ended.

Agus Rahardjo took charge as the new chief of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Tuesday (Dec 22) following his induction along with four other commissioners a day earlier.

On Monday (Dec 21), President Joko Widodo inducted Rahardjo, Basaria Panjaitan, Alexander Marwata, Saut Situmorang and Laode M. Syarif as the new KPK commissioners.

Agus Rahardjo expressed the confidence that he could lead the agency.

"We need not be afraid," he stated after reading out the oath of office at the State Palace.

Former KPK chief Antasari Ashar is behind bars, while Abraham Samad has been named a suspect.

Rahardjo will lead the KPK for the 2015-2019 period along with Basaria Panjaitan, Alexander Marwata, Laode Muhammad Syarief and Saut Situmorang.

The House of Representatives Commission elected them from among the ten candidates suggested by President Joko Widodo.

Rahardjo said he would enhance the synergy with other agencies in the effort to fight corruption.

"Synergy with other institutions will be stepped up and improved," he affirmed.

President Widodo witnessed the ceremony as the new KPK leadership took the oath of office. Vice President Jusuf Kalla and several cabinet ministers and heads of state institutions also witnessed the oath taking.

The Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), however, has expressed doubts about the ability of the new commissioners to expedite the handling of the corruption cases because they tend to accord more priority to preventive measures.

"The five leaders of the 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" here recently.

The five new leaders do not inspire confidence because the Parliament seemed to have only selected figures which agreed with the move to revise the KPK law, he said.

The legislators also tended to appoint those who were more inclined to focus on the prevention aspect.

If the KPK prioritizes prevention, then its profile should be changed to "Corruption Prevention Commission," he said.

He regretted that three of the outgoing KPK leaders---Johan Budi, Busyro Muggoddas and Bambang Widjanarko---were not re-selected.

"We believe that the three names could have continued the KPK leaderships work," he noted.

The newly appointed KPK leaders are freshmen and would need to adapt and understand the process to move swiftly in eradicating corruption, according to him.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla has called on the people to allow some time to the new KPK leadership to show its performance.

"Do not criticize them before they even start carrying out their duties. It is not impossible for them to perform better than their predecessors. Let us wait. I believe that they will prove to be tougher than their predecessors," he said to newsmen at the Bogor State Palace here on Friday.

He said the newly elected KPK commissioners were the best candidates and it is hoped that they would be able to meet the publics expectations.

Former acting KPK deputy chairman Indriyanto Seno Adji said he believed that the new leadership would be able to preserve the good reputation of the anti-graft agency.

"We believe that the new leadership would be able to preserve the KPKs honor," he stated.

Indriyanto said, "Let us give them an opportunity to do something for the state and the nation."

KPK Deputy Chief for 2010 to 2015, Adnan Pandu Praja said he believed the KPK system would work, irrespective of who leads it.

"The current KPK system has been good. Whoever leads it would not have to face any problem. I also know Agus Rajardjo. So far, he has been a KPK partner. Whoever will lead it will continue its work," he said.

An investigator of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Novel Baswedan, has warned of the threat to the law enforcement in the criminalization of a law officer.

"It would be a serious problem for law enforcement in Indonesia," Novel said.

Novel is facing charges of gross mistreatment of a suspect in Bengkulu in 2004 that allegedly led to his death when he was head of the police criminal division in that province.

He said the case had been closed long back, but police raised the issue again following the forces conflict with KPK years later.

Novel was a senior investigator of the KPK in major corruption cases involving a number of high ranking police officers including Ins. Gen. Djoko Susilo, now serving a jail term in Jakarta.

He said a law officer is the likeliest target of criminalization when investigating legal cases of a "strong man."

He refused to say that he was also a victim of criminalization.

He also refused to speculate if he was facing legal case involving alleged gross mistreatment of a thief in Bengkulu in 2004.

"I dont want to see this as an attempt to turn my conduct into some kind of a criminal activity," he said.

Police had been accused of indulging in criminalization after it named two KPK leaders, Bambang Widjojanto and Abraham Samad, as suspects in cases that had been long closed.

The polices move came following continued conflict between the two law enforcement agencies.

Police wrapped up the investigation into the case involving Novel and the dossier was handed over to the Bengkulu prosecution office on Thursday night.

Novel was charged with mistreating and causing the death of a criminal suspect.

President Joko Widodo called for increased cooperation among law enforcement agencies while dedicating the new Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Building to coincide with the anti-graft bodys 12th anniversary here on Tuesday.

The president pointed out that egoism among different sectors had so far hindered the efforts to eradicate corruption in the country.

He hoped the KPK would improve synergy with the police and the attorney generals office in its fight against corruption in the country.

He emphasized that synergy was needed as strong law enforcement agencies were important to fight corruption.

"We need a strong KPK, the police and the attorney generals office. I have observed egoism among sectors that has often hindered the efforts to achieve success in the fight against corruption," he affirmed.

Meanwhile, he remarked that the ultimate objective of all agencies was to fight corruption more effectively.

President Widodo reiterated his support to the KPK leaders and staff to continue to work in line with the mandate given to them through the law.

"The fight against corruption must not stop. I hope the new KPK leadership would immediately begin work at the new building with a renewed spirit," he emphasized.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) expressed the hope that the new building would mark the continuation of the agencys 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-storey building, with a total space of 39,629 square meters, began on November 29, 2013 at a cost of Rp315.15 billion allocated in the State Budget.(*)