Graft watchdog says BLBI case termination a result of KPK Law revisions

Source – April 3, 2021
Flowers at KPK office marking the day the KPK law revisions came into effect – September 13, 2019 (Kompas)

Irfan Kamil, Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) believes that the termination of the investigation into the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support (BLBI) funds corruption case involving Sjamsul Nursalim and his wife Itjih Sjamsul Nursalim by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on the Thursday April 1 is one of the bad effects of the 2019 revisions to the KPK Law.

ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana says that slowly but surely the bad effects of Law Number 19/2019 on the KPK are benefiting corruptors.

"Aside from the increasingly slow rate of prosecutions, this time the KPK has actually halted a big case by issuing an order to stop investigation (SP3)", said Ramadhana in a press release on Friday April 2.

According to Ramadhana, the KPK's authority to issue an SP3 based on the revised KPK Law conflicts with a 2004 Constitutional Court ruling.

At the time, said Ramadhana, the Constitutional Court asserted that the KPK does not have the authority to issue an SP3. This is solely in order to prevent the anti-graft agency from misusing its authority.

This can happen in a variety of ways such as negotiating the termination of a case with a suspect, or perhaps even further, being taken advantage of by a KPK leader to pay back a promise when they took part in the selection of KPK leaders.

"So, it is quite possible that the issuance of the SP3 could in fact become a corruption free for all", he said.

Because of this, ICW is demanding that the KPK immediately hand over the case dossier to the public prosecutor's office to submit a civil suit as regulated under Article 32 of the Anti-Corruption Law.

"This is important to ensure that Nursalim is held liable for his action which deceived and harmed the country's economy to the tune of trillions of rupiah", said Ramadhana.

"If a challenge is not immediately submitted, then there is potential for the perpetrator to repeat his wrong doings in the future", he said.

For the public itself, according to Ramadhana, resolving the case of settlement certificates for BLBI obligators is important for at least two reasons.

First, the case has attracted public attention for some time. ICW has often included the BLBI corruption scandal as an outstanding case which should have been resolved by the KPK long ago.

Second, as a consequence of Nursalim's actions, the state has had to take on a fantastic financial loss – some 4.58 trillion rupiah.

"However, during the period of [KPK Chairperson] Firli Bahuri's leadership, the public's hope [in the KPK] has been dashed", said Ramadhana.

Aside from being one of the impacts of revising the KPK Law, continued Ramadhana, the source of the other problem in terminating the investigation is that it is directly related to the Supreme Court and the policies of the KPK commissioners.

With regard to the Supreme Court itself, he said, it can be pinned to when the court decided to release the former head of the Indonesia Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA), Syafruddin Arsyad Tumenggung (SAT), which was then followed by the KPK's refusal to launch an appeal.

What needs to be noted, said Ramadhana, is that the Supreme Court's ruling to release Tumenggung was clearly in error and marred by controversy.

"It's not surprising that the panel of judges at the time in fact said that the case which ensnared SAT was not a criminal act", said Ramadhana.

"Yet, the fact is that during the trial at the judex factie level [courts which can examine facts and evidence] it was blatantly clear and [the court] handed down a sentence of 10 years against the defendant", he said.

According to the KPK meanwhile, the termination of the investigation was in accordance with legislation.

"The termination of the investigation was part of legal certainly in the process of law enforcement as mandated by Article 5 of the KPK Law, namely 'in carrying out its duties and authority the KPK is based on the principle of legal certainty'", said KPK Deputy Chairperson Alexander Marwata in a press conference on Thursday.

"The termination of the investigation is in accordance with the stipulations of Article 40 of the KPK Law", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICW Nilai Penghentian Penyidikan Kasus Sjamsul Nursalim Efek Revisi UU KPK".]