Graft watchdog accuses ethics board of protecting KPK chair Firli Bahuri

Source – June 22, 2023
KPK ethics board chairperson Tumpak Hatorangan speaking at press conference – January 9, 2023 (Kompas)

Irfan Kamil, Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) says that the decision by the Corruption Eradication Commission's (KPK) Supervisory Board (Dewas) not to hold an ethics hearing into reports of alleged ethical violations by KPK chairperson Firli Bahuri was very easy to predict.

This was conveyed by ICW researcher Diky Anandya in response to the board's conclusion that there was not enough evidence to bring the case to an ethics trial.

"The results of the Dewas' examination, which did not continue with Firli Bahuri's ethics trial, were actually easy to predict if we look at previous reports on the person concerned which were also often not followed up for the same reasons", Anandya told on Wednesday June 21.

Anandya then highlighted the fact that although the alleged ethics violation by Bahuri ran aground at the KPK Supervisory Board, the Metro Jaya regional police have said that the case deserves to be investigated.

Metro Jaya regional police chief Inspector General Karyoto said at the time that they were treating it as a criminal case of alleged leaking of state secrets.

Moreover the Metro Jaya police have even issued an investigation order (sprindik) and are continuing to investigate the case to determine if anyone is to be charged over the matter.

"So, the elevation of the criminal report to the investigation stage is a slap in the face for the Dewas who seem reluctant to dig up information on the alleged data leak committed by Firli", said Anandya.

"So it is natural that people then assume that the Dewas' actions so far have actually been to protect Firli. In the end, the KPK will progressively lose its legitimacy in the eyes of the public", he reiterated.

As reporter earlier, KPK Supervisory Board Chairperson Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean said they had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to proceed to an ethics trial in the case of Bahuri's alleged ethical violation related to the alleged leak of investigative information at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM).

Hatorangan revealed that the decision was taken after examining 30 people, including Bahuri and the people who reported the leak.

"The KPK Supervisory Board has decided that [in the case of] the report by Endar Priantoro and 16 other reporters alleging that Firli Bahuri committed ethical code [violations] by leaking something, there was not enough evidence to take it to an ethics hearing", said Hatorangan during a press conference at the old KPK building on June 19.

The alleged ethics violation surfaced after a video was uploaded by the account @dimdim0783 and circulated on social media.

In the video, a KPK official can be seen interrogating Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Legal Bureau chief M Idris Froyoto Sihite or IS.

The official, who was wearing gloves, is seen taking a number of files out of a box. Two of the files appear to bear the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources' header.

Speaking to the KPK official, IS claimed that he got the file from Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif, whose source was Bahuri.

After the news of the alleged leak emerged, a number of other parties also reported violations by Bahuri to the KPK Supervisory Board.

This is not the first time that the KPK Supervisory Board has decided not to follow up on alleged ethical violations by Bahuri. There have been two other reports that that were not taken to an ethics hearing.

The first was a report is related to the polemic surrounding an award Bahuri gave to his wife, Ardina Safitri for creating a hymn for the KPK. The second related to the dismissal of Brigadier General Endar Priantoro as the director of investigations at the KPK.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Firli Bahuri Tak Disidang Etik, ICW: Wajar Masyarakat Berasumsi Dewas KPK Lindungi Firli".]