Nominating graft convicts as candidates shows how hard it is to find 'clean' people: ICW

Source – August 29, 2022
ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana speaking at KPK building in Jakarta – June 28, 2022 (Kompas)

Fika Nurul Ulya, Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) researcher Kurnia Ramadhana says that the political parties have no sense of shame if they nominate former corruption convicts as legislative candidates in the 2024 elections.

According to Ramadhana, the nomination of former corruptors as legislative candidates shows that the political parties are having difficulties finding leading members with integrity from within their parties. This also raises the question of cadreisation by the political parties.

"Is it so difficult to find people who have a clean track record? Is it that difficult in the political parties to find names that have more integrity than having to nominate people who had been incarcerated in a correctional institution", asked Ramadhana during a public discussion in Jakarta on Monday August 29.

Ramadhana is of the view that it is inappropriate for former corruptors to be nominated as legislative candidates because corruption is categorised as an extraordinary crime, the impact of which can be felt for years and years.

This means that even if the candidates have been imprisoned or served criminal sentences, this does not mean that the impact of their previous corruption cases has disappeared.

"While they were incarcerated in a correctional institution and after they were released, has the impact of what they did disappeared? Has the damage cause by their crimes fully restored, both for the victims and the state? Especially if the corruption is related to Articles 2 and 3 on corruption involving state losses, the environment and so on", said Ramadhana.

Because of this, Ramadhana says that former corruptors cannot be said to be clean just because they have served their sentence.

Moreover, it is not impossible that they will commit similar crimes when they obtain positions which are higher that than those they had in their previous bad track record.

Based on these considerations, said Ramadhana, this is why ICW has never agreed with former corruptors being allowed to hold legislative seats or government positions.

"That is why corruption is said to be an extraordinary crime, that's why since before ICW has opposed it when there have been parties who have been caught up in corruption cases and then it is as if they are deemed to be clean and worthy of having their names on an election ballot in 2024", he said.

Based on data from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), there were 310 members of the House of Representatives (DPR) and Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) who were caught up in corruption cases from 2004-2022.

Corruption at the legislative level is ranked second most after the private sector is based on employment background.

Then referring to data from the election monitoring group the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), as many as 81 former corruptors took part in the 2019 elections. Around eight people or 9.9 percent of which were successfully elected.

Broken down these eight people were: Welhemus Tahelele in the North Maluku province DPRD electoral district 3, YHM Warsit in the Blora regency DPRD electoral district 3, Desy Yusandi in the Banten provincial electoral district 6, Moh Taufik in the Jakarta provincial DPRD electoral district 3, Mat Muhizar in the West Coastal regency DPRD electoral district 3, Abher Reinal Jitmau in the West Papua provincial DPRD electoral district 2, Djekmon Amisi in the Talaud Islands regency DPRD electoral district 3 and Abdullah Puteh in the Aceh provincial Regional Representatives Council (DPD).

"The cause of the context of the depravity of legislative corruption is people who may be currently planning to return in 2024. Therefore there is no fundamental improvement so that the portrait of corruption in the legislative sector will never improve because they endeavour to get back into the system again", said Ramadhana.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Eks Koruptor Jadi Caleg, ICW: Segitu Sulitkah Cari Orang "Bersih" di Parpol?".]