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'No longer independent': Concerns mount as draft regulation puts KPK under President

Jakarta Post - December 27, 2019

Jakarta – The Joko "Jokowi" Widodo administration is currently drafting a presidential regulation (Perpres) on the Corruption Eradication Commission's (KPK) organizational structure and management, amid fears from critics that it would further cripple the authority of the antigraft body.

According to a draft of the regulation, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, KPK commissioners are to be state officials on the same level as ministers and would be under and responsible to the President as the head of state.

The provision, stipulated in Article 1 of the draft, is different than one in the 2002 KPK Law – which was since revised by a 2019 law passed in September – that made the KPK responsible to the public while carrying out its duties.

One of the major points of the draft regulation was also the role of KPK leaders – which comprises the antigraft body's chairman and its five commissioners – as detectives, investigators and prosecutors.

Article 2, point 1e of the draft reads: "KPK leaders have the duty to examine, investigate and prosecute corruption cases."

A similar provision regarding the KPK leaders' authority to investigate and bring corruption cases to court was initially included in the original 2002 law, but it was scrapped in the revised 2019 law.

The draft would create new posts in the antigraft body, namely a supervision and monitoring deputy and an inspector general, adding to the at least six existing deputies.

The new deputy would be tasked to prepare and enforce policies to supervise corruption eradication efforts, according to Article 20 of the draft. The post reports directly to KPK chairman.

According to Article 32 of the draft, the Inspectorate General would be responsible for the internal supervision of the KPK and would report directly to the KPK chairman.

The regulation, especially because it puts KPK commissioners under the President, has sparked concerns from critics who argued that it would further cripple the antigraft body's authority to eradicate corruption following the controversial 2019 revision of the KPK Law.

"The Perpres explains and asserts the KPK's position to be under the President. This shows that the KPK is no longer an independent body like it used to be," Transparency International Indonesia secretary-general Dadang Tri Sasongko said.

Despite such concerns, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said that the draft regulation on the organizational structure and management – which is among three Perpres regarding the KPK prepared by the State Palace – had no intention to defang the antigraft body.

"There was no intention, objective or anything from the government to weaken the KPK," Pramono told reporters on Friday.

Two others regulations currently under development include a Perpres on the KPK supervisory council and a Perpres regulating details on how KPK employees would have civil servant status.

The government is currently finalizing the drafts of the regulations. (ami)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/12/27/no-longer-independent-concerns-mount-as-draft-regulation-puts-kpk-under-president.html