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Opposing the KPK destroyer

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Tempo - June 23, 2021

Jakarta – More than simply sidelining 51 employees through a dubious civic knowledge test, Firli Bahuri also wrecked the working system of the Corruption Eradication Commission. The meeting point of those who wish to destroy the KPK.

Firli Bahuri is the meeting point – the coming together of a number of interests that wish to see the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) buried. There are political parties that had long been angry with the KPK, which had constantly arrested politicians suspected of corruption. Members of the House of Representatives (DPR) then approved the revised KPK Law, which clearly weakened the anti-graft agency. There is the president, who in the name of 'developmentalism' took the view that the KPK scared off investors and made officials too frightened to take decisions. There are crooked businesses who breathed a sigh of relief when Firli was selected as KPK chairman two years ago. In short, Firli brought hope to all those irritated by the actions of the KPK.

Under Firli's leadership, the KPK has rotted away. This is not just a matter of 51 employees who were sidelined through the civic knowledge test that caused such a furor, but also the working system that has been wrecked. The collective collegial principle, in which decisions were taken jointly by the five commissioners, has been violated. Commissioners with differing opinions have been harried and their actions monitored – at least that is what they have told colleagues. Since the first few months of the 2019-2023 KPK leadership, Nawawi Pomolango, one of the commissioners, has complained of an unhealthy working atmosphere. He even expressed a desire to resign.

The principle of confidentiality in the handling of cases has also been eroded. In the past, the existence of cases was kept secret to avoid leaks, but this no longer happens. A number of important cases have ground to halt. The social assistance fund case involving former social affairs minister Juliari Batubara has stalled. And it is not clear what has happened with the investigation of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politicians Herman Hery and Ihsan Yunus, also alleged to have been involved. Their names have even disappeared from the charge sheet.

As the saying goes, like a dead fish, rotten at the head means it must be also rotten in the body and tail. In the Firli era, members of the KPK leadership have been free to meet with people they are investigating. There are indications that Commissioner Lili Pintauli Siregar met with Muammad Syahrial, the suspended mayor of Tanjungbalai, North Sumatra, when the KPK was in the middle of investigating a case allegedly involving him. Although Lili was reported to the Supervisory Board, it is not clear when any action will be taken.

But there is no point hoping for swift action from the Supervisory Board. Established based on the revised KPK Law, the board is an organization established 'as if' to control the commissioners and prevent them from overacting. However, the Firli case shows that the Supervisory Board is powerless.

Just look at what happened to the complaint against Firli following his use of a helicopter for a private journey in South Sumatra. The case ended with an anticlimax: he was simply given a written warming. The Supervisory Board did not carry out any checks when Firli claimed that he hired the helicopter for Rp7 million per hour, despite a number of non-governmental organizations stating taht the cost of hiring the Europcopter 130 T2 that Firli used would be at least Rp140 million for a four-hour flight. It is strongly suspected that Firli did not hire this helicopter, but an individual with conflict of interest had loaned it to him.

Composed of public figures loudly proclaimed to be clean and honest, the KPK Supervisory Board has proved to be nothing more than an embellishment. Nobody knows what has led to respected people such as former judge Albertina Ho, political observer Syamsuddin Haris, and former KPK leader Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean being unable to do anything about Firli. Initially we hoped that they were not made powerless by pressure and threats.

We can no longer hope for anything from the KPK. Until the political constellation changes for the better, the Commission will be toothless, or even worse, will become a weapon for differing parties. Corruption investigations and sting operations may still continue, but as a part of business and political bargaining, rather than law enforcement.

The remaining commissioners, members of the Supervisory Board, investigator and other employees should not remain silent. Firli must not be allowed to run rampant. There must be resistance. Opposition towards the evil clique that seeks to destroy the KPK will determine the moral quality of commissioners and the remaining KPK employees: do they want to fight back or not.

Read the Complete Story in Tempo English Magazine: https://magz.tempo.co/read/38027/opposing-the-destroyer-of-kpk

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1475740/opposing-the-kpk-destroye

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