Police Say Officers at KPK Will Be Replaced
The National Police have promised to replace 20 investigating officers who had been assigned to work with the Corruption Eradication Commission but were removed amid a tense probe into a tainted driving simulator project.
The announcement of the officers’ removal from the antigraft agency known as the KPK was met with criticism that the recall would hurt the agency’s ability to investigate new cases.
“It is disturbing [that] 20 detectives [were recalled], while the KPK is handling so many cases,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said on Friday.
The detectives had been working with the KPK for a year, Johan said. Under government regulations they could have been assigned to work with the anticorruption organization for four years, with the option to renew their contracts. Most of the detectives were handling more than one case, Johan said.
National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar was quoted on Saturday by the daily Suara Pembaruan as saying that the 20 officers had been recalled from the antigraft agency because their assignments had expired, and that the matter was just a routine rotation of officers. He denied that there was any other reason for the staffing change.
But Donald Fariz, a legal investigator from Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), said the replacement plan had sent the wrong signal to the public, many of whom would suspect that the officers had been removed in order to impede the KPK investigation into the purchase of driving simulators by the National Police’s traffic division.
“Undeniably, the recall of 20 detectives assigned to the KPK by the National Police was caused by a conflict created by the driving simulator case investigation,” Donald said on Saturday. This latest tit-for-tat incident with the KPK will only further tarnish the National Police’s image, he added.
“The KPK should be able to keep those detectives,” he said.
The driving simulator project reportedly cost Rp 196.8 billion ($20.7 million), including a mark up of about Rp 100 billion. Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo was chairman of the traffic division when the project was started.
Djoko has been named a suspect by the KPK for allegedly taking a Rp 2 billion kickback to award the contract for the simulator procurement. To date, however, he has refused to comply with summons for questioning by the antigraft body.
The KPK has named four suspects in the case, including the inspector general. Police have named five suspects, but the general is not included.
Bambang Widodo Umar, a police affairs analyst, said on Saturday that if the withdrawn officers were replaced by competent officers, the controversy would likely blow over. But if they were replaced by officers of lesser quality, the public would assume the move was merely to protect Djoko, a three-star general.