Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has given the National Police a deadline of three months to discover who attacked the Corruption Eradication Commission's (KPK) senior investigator, Novel Baswedan, with acid two years ago, which still remains a mystery despite a six-month probe by a special fact-finding team.
Set up by National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian in January, the team recently announced its final report, which did not reveal any new leads or possible suspects, but only recommended the police form another "technical" team to continue investigating.
Tito had asked for another six months to dig into Novel's attack, Jokowi said. However, the President told journalists on Friday that he wanted to the police to perform faster.
"I give three months for the technical team to solve [the case]," Jokowi said, adding that he believed some findings gathered by the fact-finding team could provide the police with more leads for their future investigation.
KPK officials and anticorruption activists have expressed deep disappointment with the results of the fact-finding team's probe, arguing that its members – who mostly comprised police officers – had failed to do their job since they could not identify the perpetrators of the attack.
Civil society groups advocating for Novel have called for Jokowi to set up an independent fact-finding team that would report to him directly in order to speed up and ensure accountability of the protracted investigation.
Jokowi, however, acknowledged that Novel's attack was not an easy case that could be resolved in merely "one to two days".
When asked about the activists' demand, the President maintained that he would first give three months for the police to solve the case. "I will look into the [results] then," he said.
On Wednesday, National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Muhammad Iqbal said Tito would form the recommended technical team within a week, with the police's Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) head, Insp. Gen. Idham Azis, leading the group.
The attack against Novel occurred on April 11, 2017. Two unidentified men threw acid at his face as the investigator was on his way home from morning prayers at a mosque near his house in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta.
The case, presumed by many to have been an act of terror intended to hinder the country's efforts to eradicate corruption, has yet to show any substantial progress after more than two years. (dmy/afr)