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News that ruling party fugitive in Indonesia evidence KPK's protecting him: ICW

Kompas.com - August 7, 2023

Syakirun Niam, Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) says that a national police official who has revealed that corruption suspect Harun Masiku is currently in Indonesia reinforces suspicions that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is protecting the fugitive politician.

Masiku is a former ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician who has been on the run since he was declared a suspect for allegedly bribing members of the General Elections Commission (KPU). Recently, International Relations Division Head (Kadivhubinter) Inspector General Krishna Murti said Masiku is actually in the country.

"This at the same time confirms that the public's suspicion that the anti-graft agency is protecting Masiku is getting closer to the truth", said ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana in a written statement sent to Kompas.com on Monday August 7.

According to Ramadhana, Murti's statement shows that the KPK's performance in hunting down Masiku has been pathetic. Ramadhana said since Firli Bahuri took over the leadership of the KPK, the agency's performance has been atrocious in relation to corruption cases that intersect with politics.

ICW is convinced that the main reason for the KPK's "reluctance" to enforce the law against Masiku is because there are strong indications that if the fugitive is caught, it could implicate other members of the political party elite.

"If Masiku is arrested, said Ramadhana, the case could drag down top politicians. Our suspicion is, the KPK wants to protect these [political] party elite", said Ramadhana.

In ICW's view, the KPK's handling of alleged bribery case involving Masiku has dragged on for far too long. As of today, Masiku has been on the run for more than three years, and ICW believes that the KPK appears to have kept silent on the Masiku issue.

"There are also too many irregularities in the handling [of the case] and the systematic efforts of the KPK to protect Harun are very apparent", said Kurnia.

"ICW believes that until Bahuri's period of leadership ends, Masiku will remain free without worrying about being prosecuted by the KPK", he added.

Earlier, Murti said that Masiku was suspected of being in the country, and that information on Masiku's actual whereabouts are different from the various rumors that have been circulating.

Based on the travel data obtained by the national police, Masiku had indeed traveled abroad but returned to Indonesia a day later. "The day after he left, he returned again", Murti told journalists at the KPK's Red-and-White building in South Jakarta on Monday.

In response to this, KPK spokesperson Ali Fikri said that they would act on information regarding Masiku's whereabouts in the country.

He also emphasised that the KPK is serious about pursuing those on the wanted person list (DPO) whether it be Masiku or two other fugitives, namely Kirana Kotama and Paulus Tannos.

"I think the most important thing is that we are very serious about solving at least these three cases or those who are currently on the DPO", said Fikri.

Masiku has been a fugitive since he was declared a suspect for allegedly bribing KPU Commissioner Wahyu Setiawan. He is alleged to have bribed Setiawan so that he would be declared the winner of a bi-election in the South Sumatra I electoral district to replace Nazarudin Kiemas who had died.

The results of the election showed that Masiku only garnered 5,878 votes and came in at sixth position. Despite this, the PDI-P put Masiku forward as Kiemas' replacement.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICW: Harun Masiku di Indonesia, Bukti KPK Lindungi Buronan".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/08/07/20291111/icw-harun-masiku-di-indonesia-bukti-kpk-lindungi-burona