As KPK Moves in on National Police General, Fears of a Repeat of 2009
Arientha Primanita, Rizky Amelia, Farouk Arnaz & Markus Junianto Sihaloho
A senior government official guaranteed on Tuesday that there would be no retaliatory action from the police after investigators from the Corruption Eradication Commission named a two-star police general a graft suspect.
The coordinating minister for legal and security affairs, Djoko Suyanto, said he would make sure there was no repeat of the ugly incidents of 2009 that saw two antigraft officials charged with abuse of power in what was seen as a tit-for-tat measure by the police.
“The KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] and the police must maintain synergy in upholding the law. That is the president’s wish,” he said. “We won’t let the past happen again. We will monitor both institutions, they must not oppose one another or fight with one another.”
KPK officials said on Tuesday that they had named the former director of the National Police’s traffic division, Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, a suspect in a massive graft case. The news had politicians and analysts immediately worrying of a repeat of the events of 2009.
“KPK has since July 27 stepped up the investigation of the case with the investigation of the suspect D.S.,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said on Tuesday. He said Djoko reportedly abused his authority in the procurement of simulators for driving tests, leading to state losses of “dozens of billions of rupiah.”
According to the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra), a nongovernmental organization, the procurement project was worth Rp 198.7 billion ($21 million).
KPK officials arrived at the traffic division’s offices in Cawang, East Jakarta, at about 4 p.m. on Monday and the search continued until 5 a.m. on Tuesday.
Police prevented KPK investigators from leaving the offices with any of the confiscated documents. A heated exchange only subsided after senior KPK officials intervened and an agreement was reached between leaders of the two bodies.
Activists and politicians were quick to urge the president to mediate, saying that Tuesday’s tensions could easily escalate.
In 2009, the National Police charged two KPK commissioners in what was widely seen as a trumped up case that was retaliation for a corruption investigation into a three-star police general in a major bribery scandal. Police dropped all charges against the KPK commissioners after the KPK halted its investigation into the bribery scandal.
KPK chairman Abraham Samad went to National Police headquarters on Tuesday for a closed-door meeting with National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo.
Abraham signaled that the case against Djoko Susilo would be investigated jointly and suggested that a second police general had been charged. “We have reached an understanding. D.S. will continue to be investigated by the KPK while the police will handle the project manager, who has also been named a suspect,” he said.
The officer in charge of the project was Djoko’s former deputy, Brig. Gen. Didik Purnomo.
Djoko, who is now governor of the police academy, could face a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.