Graft watchdog staff complain investigations into ‘big fish’ being obstructed

Detik News – April 11, 2019
Corruption Eradication Commission building in Jakarta (Detik)
Corruption Eradication Commission building in Jakarta (Detik)

Jakarta – At least 114 investigators from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) have signed a petition complaining over the obstacles they face when pursuing corruption cases. The petition was addressed to the KPK leadership because they are having difficulties indicting big fish.

There were five reasons spelt out for causing deadlocks in pursuing prosecutions at the KPK. The investigators hope that the KPK leadership will take firm measures to remove these obstacles.

But who are the big fish being referred to? The petition itself does not actually mention the names of the big fish. They only refer to high-level government and corporate officials and criminal cases involving money laundering.

“Over the last year more or less [investigative] staff at the KPK’s Deputy for Enforcement have experienced an impasse in unraveling and developing cases up to the level of cases involving senior officials or big fish, at the level of corporate crime as well as in money laundering crimes”, read the petition received by on Wednesday April 10.

The petitioners stated that they had tried to convey these complaints through official civil service channels or they have been conveyed directly and informally by personnel from the Deputy for Enforcement to the KPK leadership. Unfortunately, they still encountered a dead end.

The investigators said that the obstacles faced in indicting big fish ranged from information leaks to obstacles summoning witnesses. They hope that the petition will be followed up on in order to maintain the KPK’s authority as a law enforcement institution which acts professionally and independently.

The KPK leadership has responded to the petition, with KPK Deputy Chief Laode M Syarif saying that they would soon meet with the KPK employees concerned. “The leadership will schedule a meeting with the employees who put together the petition”, Syarif told on Wednesday.

Meanwhile KPK Public Relations Bureau Chief Febri Diansyah said that they will solve the dynamic internally trough existing mechanisms. He asserted that input in the form of the petition is an instrument of communication between the leadership and employees. The KPK however will also confirm that this internal dynamic is not being misused by other parties.

“We also want to confirm one thing, don’t let what is happening at the moment then be misused or taken advantage of by certain parties in relation to cases that the KPK is handling because the KPK ensures that the handling of cases is carried out in a ‘prudent’ manner based on procedural laws that are in effect” said Diansyah at the KPK building on Jl. Kuningan Persada in South Jakarta on Wednesday.

The following are the five reasons for the obstacles exactly as written in the petition:

1. Delays in case handling during exposure at the deputy level

Delays in the exposure of cases for reasons that are unclear and tend to be drawn out over months until the central case is resolved. This has the potential to block opportunities to develop cases to the stage of higher level officials along with just localising cases at the level of the suspect or certain positions.

2. High level leaks in confidential criminal investigations

Over the last few months almost all of the investigation task forces (satgas) have suffered failures on several occasions during sting operations (Operasi Tangkap Tangan, OTT) which were being carried out because of suspected leaks. These leaks have not just had the effect of creating mistrust between coworkers as well as between staff and/or the leadership structure, but have also resulted in potentially high safety risks being faced by personnel on duty in the field.

3. Not agreeing to summonses and the special treatment of witnesses

The tendering of witnesses from particular departmental levels or certain categories has become extremely difficult. This has resulted in obstacles because staff are unable to work optimally in gathering evidence. In addition to this, there has been special treatment afforded to witnesses. As an example, not long ago special treatment was afforded to a witness who was able to enter the interrogation room though a basement door, through the employee lift and through the staff access door on level 2 of the KPK building without having to pass though the guest lobby on level 1 or being registered as a witness as they should be according to procedures.

4. Refusal of permission for raids on certain locations and travel bans

Without any objective reasons, it is often the case that permission is not given to conduct raids at locations in specific cases. Investigators feel that opportunities to find and gather evidence are becoming narrower, even almost non-existent. Aside from this, travel bans on people who it is felt need to be prevented from leaving the country are refused for reasons that are unclear. This has given rise to a number of preconceptions.

5. Neglect of alleged gross violations

Gross violations committed by rouge individuals in enforcement have not been followed up in a clear and transparent manner by internal supervisors. This has often given rise to questions among staff about whether the KPK is currently being selective in upholding the code of ethics for employees. On the one had the code of ethics is very strong while on the other hand it can be very silent and proceed slowly and even on many occasions the development as well as the enforcement of sanctions gradually disappear over time.

The following are several mega-corruption cases currently being handled by the KPK:

1. East Kotawaringin mining permit bribery case

The regent of East Kotawaringin (Kotim), Central Kalimantan, Supian Hadi, has been declared a suspect for alleged bribery. The KPK suspects that Hadi misused his authority by issuing mining permits (IUP) to three companies. The three companies are PT FMA (PT Fajar Mentaya Abadi), PT BI (Billy Indonesia) and PT AIM (Aries Iron Mining).

Hadi allegedly issued the IUPs even though the three companies had failed to fulfill the required conditions. The KPK says that the alleged state loses of 5.8 trillion rupiah and USD$711,000 originated from production by the bauxite mine, environmental damage and loss of forest cover as a result of production and mining activities.

In addition to the trillions of rupiah in alleged state losses, Hadi is also alleged to have accepted two luxury cars and money related to the permits for the three companies.

2. BLBI scandal

The KPK has reopened the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support (BLBI) case involving Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (BPPN) chief Syafruddin Arsyad Temenggung. Temenggung was sentenced to 13 years in jail, which was increased to 15 years on appeal.

The panel of judges found Temenggung guilty of violating the law in relation to the BLBI scandal and causing financial losses to the state of 4.6 trillion rupiah as well as distributing state financial losses amounting to 4.5 trillion rupiah and thereby benefiting Bank Dagang Negara Indonesia (BDNI) owner Nursalim Sjamsul to the tune of 4.5 trillion rupiah. The panel of judges were convinced that Syafruddin’s actions were carried out together with Sjamsul and his wife Itjih Nursalim and former Finance Minister Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti.

3. The e-KTP corruption case

As many as six people have been convicted in the electronic ID card (e-KTP) corruption case. They are former Home Affairs Ministry Director General for Population and Civil Registration Irman, former Home Affairs Minister official Sugiharto, former House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Setya Novanto, Andi Agustinus alias Andi Narogong, former executive director of PT Quadra Solution Anang Sugiana Sudihardjo, Novanto’s cousin, Irvanto Hendra Pambudi Cahyo and businessperson Made Oka Masagung.

It is believed that the case has caused state losses of as much as 2.3 trillion rupiah. The corruption occurred at the project procurement level between 2011 and 2012. (jbr/aan)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Siapa Big Fish yang Lepas dari Jerat KPK?”.]