Copy, Paste, (Insert Name of Corruption Suspect Name)
It is hardly surprising the Corruption Eradication Commission has had a 100 percent conviction rate in prosecuting graft cases. The commission, better known here as the KPK, is not allowed to halt a case after a suspect is named and charged, so the selection of cases that go to trial is a meticulously calculated process. The KPK is given enormous power to conduct wiretapping or target high-ranking officials without the need for presidential approval or a court order.
But to me, the reason for the KPK’s success is that corruption in this country is so rampant that all the KPK has to do is look at the financial statements or audits of any random public institution and go “bingo.”
With the reverse burden of truth under the law on money laundering, the job is even simpler. The KPK could go to any random public official’s home and say: “Hmmm … how did this guy amass such a large fortune with his salary?”
And they have got more and more efficient at it too. With cases of graft so predictable, KPK prosecutors could prepare an indictment blindfolded and still win the case.
A typical corruption indictment for illicit procurement is as follows:
“On the night of [insert date here], businessman [insert name of shady businessman here] contacted [name of corrupt official here] to discuss the procurement process at [name of government ministry here]. The defendant then asked the businessman for [insert percentage] of the gains the businessman would receive if his company were appointed in a mock tender process.
“The official then told his subordinates, who were in charge of the procurement of [insert product name], to stage an elaborate but fake bidding process. Participating in the bid were the businessman’s company, his wife’s company, his son’s company and a few fictitious companies. The businessman secured the contract, despite the fact that he had inflated the project budget by a factor of 10. Upon securing the contract, the businessman made a generous donation to the official’s foundation.”
For embezzlement of state money, prosecutors need a different but still very predictable format:
“The defendant [insert government official's name here] ordered his subordinates to make fictitious funding proposals from fictitious organizations. Money was later channeled to an account belonging to the official and, to keep his subordinates’ mouths shut, a small portion of the funds was distributed to them as well.
“After successfully siphoning off [insert amount] during his first year in office, the official got greedier and embezzled [insert even larger amount] during his second, third, fourth and final years in office.”
This pattern occurs time and time again. Hardly any corrupt officials have dared to think outside the box and come up with a new graft scheme. According to data published by the KPK, the majority of cases handled by the commission are related to procurements and the embezzlement of state money.
Although I must say it makes reporting on cases of corruption one of the easiest beats to cover, I crave some creativity.
The Big Detail is that pursuing cases with complicated schemes involving layers upon layers of intermediaries is good for the KPK. It challenges the skills of the antigraft body’s staff, meaning they don’t simply prosecute cases they are familiar with.
Is the KPK able to uncover the mystifying corruption scandal behind the fall of Bank Century? Or arrest the true mastermind behind the bribery linked to the appointment of economist Miranda Goeltom as one of the central bank’s top officials?
On the other hand, why do 50 percent of corruption cases handled by the Attorney General’s Office end up in acquittals?