Indonesia: A Weakening of the Corruption Eradication Commission?

14 March 2012 FDI Team

Background

On 11 March 2012, the Indonesian House of Representatives drafted a Bill to limit the range of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK, or Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi) and to monitor its work. It has raised questions as to how the proposed changes would affect the KPK if the bill passes through Parliament.

The anti-corruption watchdog has a track record of 100 per cent convictions. In the past nine years of its operations, it has convicted high-level politicians, including members of parliament, government ministers and high level executives in the private sector. 

Comments

Indonesia’s lawmakers have proposed a review of Law № 30/2002, which governs the KPK. The House of Representatives intends to establish a five-member board to monitor the KPK’s work, hold a court of investigation if any KPK member breaches work ethics, and also to evaluate its performance annually. Most importantly, lawmakers have been debating an article in the KPK law, which prohibits the KPK from dropping a case once prosecution has begun.

The Deputy Chief of the House Law Commission, Tjatur Sapto Edy, claims that the revision of the KPK law would enhance the organisation, by sharing its role with the police and the Attorney General’s department. The KPK argues that the proposed law would weaken it, when it has consistently attempted to control and minimise corruption and has a 100 per cent conviction rate in its prosecutions.

Denny Indrayana, the Deputy Law and Human Rights Minister, said that the government would look critically at the lawmakers’ bid to revise the KPK law.

The lawmakers intend to remove KPK’s ability to investigate corruption allegations and urged the KPK to focus more on preventing corruption, but no new measures were outlined. The KPK claims that removing its authority to investigate would encourage more corruption. If the changes go through, then the KPK will be deprived of the ability to pursue corruption allegations, which will eventually leave it with no authority and no power to initiate and pursue prosecution as provided by the current law. This would, in the long run, retard the credibility of the commission, as it would be unable to deliver results.

A very similar case in January 2011, in which a former legislator proposed a review of the KPK law, was rejected by the Constitutional Court, which upheld the Articles that prohibit the KPK from terminating its cases. If the government becomes critical of the lawmakers’ bid, it is most likely to end up the same way.

Paras Lohani

Future Directions International Research Assistant

Indian Ocean Research Programme

 

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