Newly elected head of Indonesia's anti-graft agency, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), former South Sumatra Police chief Firli Bahuri. (Antara Photo/Nova Wahyudi).

Firli Bahuri Selected as New Antigraft Agency Chief Despite Allegations of Misconduct


SEPTEMBER 13, 2019

Jakarta. Despite objections from its own staff, former South Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Firli Bahuri was voted in by acclamation as the new head of the national antigraft agency by the House of Representatives on Friday morning. 

The 56 members of House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, selected a total of five commissioners for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) this time, including Firli.

The others are Alexander Marwata (already a KPK commissioner), Nurul Ghurfron, an academic, Nawawi Pomolango, a judge, and Lili Pintauli Siregar, a lawyer.

"Why did Firli get the full 56 [votes]? Because he was wronged, by many people," said Commission III deputy chairman Herman Hery, of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).


Allegations of ethical misconduct had dogged Firli's career, including when he was working as an investigator for the KPK in 2018. 

He was accused of violating the agency's code of conduct twice by meeting with Tuan Guru Bajang Zainul Majdi, the governor of West Nusa Tenggara at the time, while the agency was investigating him for corruption. 

The KPK had tried to shed light on the governor's stake ownership in copper mining company Newmont Nusa Tenggara between 2009 and 2016.

As the South Sumatra Police chief, Firli was alleged to have received 600 free tickets to Irish boyband Westlife's concert in Palembang in August this year. 

Firli claimed he had met Tuan Guru Bajang accidentally while playing tennis and that they never once talked about the graft case.

He also denied knowing anything about the free tickets to the Westlife concert, which were rumored to have been given away to the staff at the South Sumatra Police headquarters.

Firli's selection attracted widespread objection almost immediately. Current KPK commissioner Saut Situmorang and Tsani Annafari, an advisor to the agency, both resigned from their posts on the same day.

The agency has openly shown its opposition at recent attempts to cripple its power, including a House initiative to propose revisions to the KPK Law.

The KPK logo at its headquarters in South Jakarta was covered up with black cloth on Monday and a black banner was placed on the agency's official website with a note saying "We keep working; We keep fighting; #SaveKPK."

Lawmakers from Commission III will present their selection of KPK commissioners to the House's plenary session next week, Herman said.