M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was shocked by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's decision to favor the plea for clemency submitted by former Riau governor Annas Maamun.
KPK recalled the corruption case incriminating Annas was a complex one and required a long time for the investigation.
"We are pretty shocked when hearing the information about the clemency to Annas," said the KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah at his office, Jakarta, Tuesday, November 26.
Febri mentioned that the legal proceedings lasted for almost two years. The anti-graft body arrested the Golkar politician on September 25, 2014, and the binding court ruling was issued on February 4, 2019.
The corruption practice committed by the 78-year-old man also caused adverse impacts on the environment, Febri added.
Annas was charged with 7 years behind bars as he was named guilty of receiving a bribe related to the land-conversion permits into palm oil farms in a protected forest in Riau. According to KPK, the case in the forestry sector generated devastating effects on the environment and the public interest.
Earlier reports informed that the President issued a presidential decree on the clemency to Annas on October 25. The convict's sentence was reduced from seven to six years. Annas filed the request on the grounds of age and health factors.
Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) lamented Jokowi's decision. According to the graft watchdog, corruption case is an extraordinary crime, so sentence reduction could not be justified for any reason. "The president's move has tarnished the sense of justice among the public," said ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana.