KPK to Force Civil Servants to Explain Assets
In an announcement that could potentially shock millions of civil servants across the country, the Corruption Eradication Commission said it will require all state officials to explain where their wealth came from in cases where their net worth is suspiciously higher than their accumulated salaries.
According to the law, all state officials must report their wealth to the antigraft body, known as the KPK, 30 days after their inauguration or after leaving their post.
“We should build a tradition in corruption eradication that the state officials must not just report their wealth but also explain the sources, so that there will be no suspicion,” said KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto while attending the commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day in Jakarta on Sunday.
He added that the KPK would in turn confiscate all reported assets suspected to have been obtained through corruption.
Until now, state officials only reported their wealth to the KPK and merely signed a document without ever being asked to verify the sources of their earnings.
But now the KPK said it would require employees of the state to explain how they obtained their assets.
“We have the right to investigate the assets of state officials that [aren’t a product of] their salary as civil servants,” he said.
Indonesia has nearly five million civil servants working at both the central and local governmental levels.
While most state officials receive salaries that are less than Rp 10 million ($1,040) per month, many of them possess billions and even hundreds of billions in assets.
For instance, a recent report by a government watchdog, the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), mentioned that a group of police generals reportedly stockpiled hundreds of billions of rupiah in their personal bank accounts.
Law enforcers and judges, experts say, turned a blind eye to the facts while hiding behind the absence of a reverse burden of proof principle and not requiring officials to reveal the sources of their wealth.
“It will have a massive impact for the country’s corruption eradication and prevention efforts. It will really help a lot,” said Hifdzil Alim of the Center for Anti-Corruption Studies at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta.
He added that the KPK did not need to alter any legislation to implement its policy because as the law currently stands, the agency has the right to ask state officials to clarify their assets.
“It only needs a decree from the KPK,” he said.
Previously, senior lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis also said that the principle of reverse burden of proof was included in the nation’s law on money laundering, which the KPK can always utilize.
“We have been encouraging the KPK to apply the principle so all state officials involved in graft can be netted,” he said.
Several other legal experts stressed the need for the KPK to apply the principle in solving the Rp 2.5 trillion Hambalang scandal by pursuing state officials involved in the scandal since Andi Mallarangeng, the former youth affairs and sports minister, recently resigned after being named a suspect in the scandal.
Some even suggested that the antigraft body should attempt to prove Democratic Party Chairman Anas Urbaningrum’s involvement in Hambalang scandal, pointing to his accumulated wealth since becoming chairman of the ruling party.