Inquiry on anti-graft agency triggers controversy

If the inquiry is carried out, it could be seen as an intervention into the legal enforcement process by the House of Representatives (DPR) and could harm the independence of KPK, ILUNI FH UI said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A motion initiated by several lawmakers, particularly from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), Golkar, and the National Democrats (Nasdem) parties, to exercise inquiry rights on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), has received criticism from various parties, particularly from legal experts.

The Association of Alumni of the Faculty of Law of the University of Indonesia (ILUNI FH UI) has noted that the planned inquiry was an obstruction of justice and could endanger the momentum of corruption eradication.

If the inquiry is carried out, it could be seen as an intervention into the legal enforcement process by the House of Representatives (DPR) and could harm the independence of KPK, ILUNI FH UI said in a statement signed by its chairman, Ahmad Fikri Assegaf, on May 3.

The ILUNI FH UI also criticized a mechanism deciding the motion to exercise the inquiry rights by the DPR during a plenary session at the Parliament Building, here, on April 28.

Despite objections by representatives of several political party factions, Fahri Hamzah, deputy house speaker and chairman of the plenary session, hurriedly announced that the meeting approved the inquiry on the performance of the anti-graft agency.

Political parties factions in the DPR which refuse the inquiry motion are Gerindra, National Awakening (PKB), Democrats Party (PD), and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). Several members of the parties walked out to protest against the plenary sessions chairman.

Ahmad Muzani, Chairman of Gerindra Faction, regretted the move by the plenary meeting chairman. He believed that the chairman should have postponed the meeting and allowed lobbying prior to making a decision.

He stated that Gerindra would lobby with other factions to cancel the decision regarding the inquiry on KPK.

Cucun Ahmad Syamsurijal, secretary of the PKB faction, said that his factions members also walked out in protest against the DPR chairman who did not accommodate the concerns of those objecting to the inquiry.

"Yes, I am very disappointed, because the chairman of the meeting did not follow the existing rules," he remarked.

During the meeting, Erma Suryani Ranik, legislator representing the Democratic Party (PD), read out her partys stance regarding the inquiry on KPK.

She stated that her party was against the inquiry because it could weaken the KPK and was at the wrong time.

Her party believed that KPK must have extraordinary authorities to effectively fight corruption practices, she stressed.

The public, however, must monitor the KPK to make sure that it works fairly and indiscriminately in its fight against corruption, she added.

The inquiry motion came after KPK rejected a request earlier by the Law Commission of the DPR to hand over a recorded copy of the dossiers of lawmaker Miryam S. Haryani, who has been implicated in a Rp5.9 trillion scandal over the procurement of electronic identity (e-ID) card project.

Based on dossiers read by the KPK prosecutor in a court session earlier, more than 50 lawmakers, including the current House Speaker, Setya Novanto, high-ranking government officials, and businessmen, were allegedly implicated in the scandal.

Besides Haryani, two officials of the Home Affairs Ministry and a businessman involved in the scandal are now facing trial.

Chairman of the DPRs Commission III Bambang Soesatyo hoped that a special team handling the inquiry would be transparent, and their meetings would be open to public.

"The Commission III of the DPR hopes that the special team (Pansus) for conducting an inquiry into the KPK could produce the right recommendations for improving the KPK internally," Soesatyo stated.

There should be no intentions to weaken the anti-graft body by revising the Law on KPK, he emphasized.

Soesatyo lauded the Indonesian police for arresting Haryani.

"Hopefully, as Haryani has been found, we could disclose the names of people pressuring her after the police interrogate her for a police report.

If everything is answered, the special team does not need to ask the KPK to disclose the recording, he noted.

Hence, the team could focus on the results of auditing by the State Audit Agency concerning the performance and the spending of the budget, as well as on the alleged disharmony among the KPK commissioners and investigators, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Novanto, concurrently chairman of the Golkar Party, stated that he never interferes in the plan to exercise the Houses inquiry rights on the KPK.

The decision was entirely taken by the deputy chairman and the political parties factions in the Parliament.

"I will not interfere. It is the deputy chairman and the factions who carry it out," he added. As an important witness in the e-ID card project case, Novanto has been banned from going overseas by the KPK.

Although officially the majority of factions in the House are against exercising inquiry rights on KPK, they allow their individual members to sign for the inquiry rights.

There are 19 members of the House Commission III signing the proposal for the exercise of inquiry rights on KPK. All parties, with the exception of PKB, have lawmakers among the signatories.

They included Nawawi Saleh, Ahmad Zacky Siradj, Adies Kadir, Syaiful Bahri Ruray, Endang Srikarti Handayani, Agun Gunandjar Sudarsa, Anthon Sihombing, Syaiful Bahri Ruray, Endang Srikarti Handayani, Agun Gunandjar Sudarsa, Anthon Sihombing, Noor Ahmad, Ridwan Bae and M.N Purnama Sidi of the Golkar faction; Taufiqulhadi and Ahmad Sahroni of the Nasdem faction, Dossy Iskandar of Hanura faction, Fahri Hamzah of the PKS faction, Masinton Pasaribu and Edy Wijaya Kusuma of the PDIP faction, Desmond J Mahesa of the Gerindra party, Daeng Muhammad of the PAN faction, and Arsul Sani of the United Development party (PPP) faction.

The KPK has strongly expressed regret over the motion, calling it a political maneuver by some of the lawmakers to obstruct the investigation.(*)