KPK fears catching fugitive PDI-P politician will implicate other party elites: ICW

Source – July 9, 2023
The KPK declared Harun Masiku an international fugitive in 2021 – Undated (Herald)

Syakirun Niam, Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) is convinced that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) will not apprehend former ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician and fugitive Harun Masiku ahead of the 2024 elections.

Masiku is a suspect in a bribery case involving former General Election Commission (KPU) commissioner Wahyu Setiawan. He has been on the police's wanted list (DPO) for more than 1,275 days.

ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana says that they are convinced that the KPK will not give serious attention to finding Masiku in the middle of a political year.

"Because if Harun is taken into custody, there is a good possibility that elite [members] of the big political parties will also be indicted", said Ramadhana in a written statement on Sunday July 9.

According to Ramadhana, the KPK under the leadership of Firli Bahuri has become an anti-corruption body that is most afraid of confronting politicians.

Therefore a case such as the hunt for Masiku is difficult to resolve. Yet he believes that the KPK with all its authority and resources should be able to arrest Masiku if it wanted to.

"The KPK is not incapable of discovering Harun's whereabouts, rather it does not indeed want to", said Ramadhana.

Ramadhana believes that the explanation conveyed by the KPK's acting deputy for prosecution and execution Asep Guntur Rahayu about the hunt for Masiku is nothing more than a gimmick.

ICW believes that the handling of the Masiku case has been irregular from the start and that the KPK leadership has not been serious about arresting the PDI-P politician.

"The KPK leadership also appears to be protecting Harun", said Ramadhana.

Earlier, Rahayu said that last month the KPK deployed a team to find Masiku at a mosque in a neighbouring country. They also looked for Masiku in places of worship and an apartment building and have followed up on information about a person with a name and characteristics that resemble Masiku.

"[They] conducted a check because there was indeed information that HM (Harun Masiku) was there, at the mosque, we've already checked there", said Rahayu when speaking to journalists at the KPK Juang Building in South Jakarta on Thursday July 6.

Nevertheless, said Rahayu, the KPK has not yet succeeded in apprehending Masiku. He also claimed that they had not faced any obstacles, including administrative ones.

This is because a Red Notice from Interpol in the name of Harun Masiku has already been issued so the PDI-P politician is considered to be a fugitive by neighbouring countries.

Masiku is alleged to have bribed KPU commissioner Wahyu Setiawan with 600 million rupiah in exchange for a seat in the House of Representatives (DPR) for the South Sumatra electoral district I, replacing Nazarudin Kiemas who had earlier died.

The election result stated that Masiku came in sixth place and only garnered 5,878 votes. The PDI-P however put Masiku forward as Kiemas' replacement.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICW: Jika Harun Masiku Diringkus, Akan Ada Elite Parpol yang Terseret".]