Kinanti Pinta Karana
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono outlined various options for settling the controversial case against two suspended Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) officers, but did not set out a clear course of action in a speech on Monday night.
The president noted that both the police and the Attorney General’s Office have the power to drop the case.
He said he initially felt it should continue: “If we want to end the debate on whether Bibit S Riyanto and Chandra M Hamzah are guilty or not, the right forum is the court. At first, that’s what I thought.”
Later, he said, a clear lack of public trust in the nation’s legal machinery caused him to reconsider.
But the president stopped short of calling for the case to be dropped, saying instead that law enforcement authorities must clean house.
“I have ordered the Attorney General and the National Police to conduct reform in their own institutions,” he said, adding that he wanted the KPK to do the same.
Yudhoyono said the Rp 6.7 trillion (about $700 million) spent on the equally controversial bailout of Bank Century must be returned to the government.
“I will take internal actions on the Bank century case and speed up the legal process of Bank Century’s management to return the Rp 6.7 trillion to the country,” he said.
Still, he said, the bailout must be understood as part of the global financial crisis that was raging in November 2008, a time when some feared the collapse of large banks could destroy national economies.
“What the government and central bank did in November 2008 must not be separated from the context,” said Yudhoyono.
Activists and analysts have speculated that the case against Bibit and Chandra might be an effort to keep the KPK from investigating possible irregularities in the Bank Century rescue.
Hours of wiretapped phone conversations played in court earlier this month appeared to reveal a conspiracy against the two KPK deputies by police, prosecutors and the brother of a fugitive graft suspect.