Anti-graft activists believe KPK oversight committee ridden with political interests

Detik News – November 3, 2019
YLBHI Chairperson Asfinawati speaking to reporters (Detik)
YLBHI Chairperson Asfinawati speaking to reporters (Detik)

Yulida Medistiara, Jakarta – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will personally select the members of the new Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) oversight committee. Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Chairperson Asfinawati says that the KPK oversight committee will become an extension of the president’s authority.

“It’s like this, whoever they are it is very clear, as I said earlier, there will be a power relationship between the oversight committee and the president, so in reality the one who will control the KPK will be the president, because the people selected will be accountable to the person who chose them”, said Asfinawati at the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) offices in Kalibata, South Jakarta, on Sunday November 3.

Asfinawati claims the president will also be able to control the KPK leadership because the members of the KPK leadership selection committee (pansel) were also selected by Widodo. According to Asfinawati, the KPK is currently under the president’s control and his ruling party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), will enjoy the benefits of this.

“And this also means [control] at the level of the KPK leadership through the process by the president (the pansel). So actually the KPK is currently in the president’s pocket, the president can control the KPK. And whoever can gain access to the president can also enjoy the benefits of this power relationship with the KPK, including his political party”, she said.

Asfinawati believes that the appointment of the oversight committee members will be ridden with political interests. This is because it will have higher authority than the KPK leadership itself and could weaken the KPK, one of the ways being through wiretaps which have to be authorised by the oversight committee.

In addition to this, the oversight committee members will initially be appointed by the president and only later through a selection committee during the next KPK leadership period. According to Asfinawati, the oversight committee should only monitor the KPK and should not have excessive powers.

“The oversight committee is very political, this is very clear because there is a regulation [which stipulates] that in the first year there will be a difference in the selection [of committee members] with the following year. Then everyone understands that this oversight, should be to monitor not run it, now right, they will implement it”, she said.

Earlier, Widodo stated that he is still accommodating input on the formation of the KPK oversight committee. In accordance with existing regulations, the committee members will be chosen directly by the president. The new oversight committee will then be inaugurated in December along with the new KPK leadership.

“For the first period it won’t be through a pansel, but trust me later those who are selected will be people who have a high level of credibility”, said Widodo.

The formation of an oversight committee is part of the recently enacted revisions to the KPK Law. The oversight committee is seen as having the potential to weaken the KPK’s work. (yld/zap)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Aktivis Antikorupsi Nilai Pemilihan Dewas KPK Kental Unsur Politis”.]