news focus: new anti-graft chief promises to fight big cases

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The election on Friday of young figure Abraham Samad (43) as the chief of the country`s anti-graft body, or the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), raised new hope as he came up with promise to deal with large scale corruption cases.

"The KPK chief has the mandate from the people to crack down on corruption. I have to carry out the mandate. I will give priority to large scale corruption cases, namely those involving over Rp1 billion," Abraham who was named the KPK chief on Friday evening said.

As a young figure that is not contaminated by politics and influenced by political parties, his statements seemed to convince many quarters and raise new hope that the ant-graft body would have different performance under his leadership.

He said that he would give priority to investigating big cases because the law required him to do so. "Based on Law No. 30 / 2002 on KPK, the KPK is tasked with handling large-scale corruption cases," Abraham Samad said in an interactive dialog held by a private TV station following his election.

Abraham Samad was elected KPK chairman for the 2011- 2015 period in a plenary of the House of Representatives (DPR)`s Commission III on legal affairs on Friday evening.

He won 43 votes out of the 56 members of the House Commission III, defeating present KPK chief Busyro Muqoddas and other candidates.

Before electing the KPK chief, Commission III members elected four new KPK members out of eight candidates, namely Bambang Widjojanto , Abraham Samad, Adnan Pandu Praja and Zulkarnaen who respectively won 55, 55, 51 and 37 votes.

His election was hailed by many quarters, including the Indonesia Clean Movement (GIB). "There is optimism with the election of Abraham Samad as the KPK chief. He is a young figure who is not yet contaminated and co-opted by certain political powers," GIB Coordinator Adhie Masardi said.

He said that the Abraham - Bambang Widjajanto duo was expected to bring fresh wind to the efforts of corruption crack-down in Indonesia. "I hope Abraham would act like the Late Baharuddin Lopa, former attorney general," he said.

Adhie said that the indicator if a change would happen with the KPI was that the initial step of the new leadership conducted internal investigation with the KPK. He suspected that the anti-graft body had been infiltrated by people who in fact were willing to hamper corruption eradication efforts.

He said that Abraham was expected to work better because as a young man he was not yet influenced by politics and that he could not be easily be dictated by certain political forces. That?s why legislators at the House Commission III named him.

"We want to have an independent KPK leader. Abraham has commitment to handling cases which we often mention," Trimedya Panjaitan of Commission III on legal affairs of the House of Representatives said.

He mentioned several factors why Abraham was elected KPK chairman. He said that Abraham was relatively `uncontaminated` (by politics) and a person who came from a village or region who deserved to be given the chance to lead.

"He is a person who is not contaminated by the center of power and by the hustle and bustle of legal problems in Jakarta. He is relatively uncontaminated," the legislator said.

Trimedya who is a legislator of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Stuggle (PDI), said therefore his side had no choice other than Abraham and Bambang Widjojanto for the KPK leadership.

In the meantime, the Constitutional Court (MK) also expressed hope that the four leaders of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) would be more focused on cracking down on corruption. "We hope the new KPK leaders would not do their job with one man one show," Constitutional Court`s Judge Akil Mochtar said.

Akil said that the KPK leaders should not also show their pessimistic attitude towards the efforts to eliminate corruption. They need not issue a political statement but focus on corruption eradication only.

He said that efforts to fight corruption would not be successful only with statements and ideas but with performance and a measured system. For that, his side expressed hope that the KPK leaders could work hard in revealing large-scale corruption cases yet not neglecting smaller ones.

The MK hope is in line with Abraham?s promise to handle large scale corruption cases, namely those involving over Rp1 billion. When a reporter asked him about the Bank Century case on which the KPK had not made any progress so far, Abraham said all large-scale cases would become the KPK`s priority.

During the fit and proper test in parliament, Abraham said he was ready to investigate big cases such as the Rp6.7 billion bailout case of Bank Century. "I am ready to crack down on corruption cases indiscriminately," he added.

He promised to show the results of his work in one year, saying that if after one year, he had proved unable to uncover big corruption cases, he would be ready to resign from his post. In doing his task, he also promised he would ignore when there was in intervention from outsider when he was handling a case.

"I will go ahead with my investigation while praying to God for His protection," he said. (*)