Lili Pintauli Siregar, the newly elected deputy chairwoman of the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK], said she supported the establishment of a supervisory body from which investigators must obtain warrants to wiretap suspects. (Photo courtesy of BeritaSatu TV)

Newly Elected KPK Deputy Supports Oversight of Antigraft Agency


SEPTEMBER 28, 2019

Jakarta. Lili Pintauli Siregar, one of five newly elected commissioners of the national antigraft agency, said she supported the establishment of a supervisory body from which investigators must obtain warrants to wiretap suspects.

The ruling is included in a revision of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law, which sparked outrage among the agency's current commissioners and resulted in nationwide protests over suspicions that it was meant to undermine the agency's powers.

"As law enforcers, we must follow the laws made by the president and the House of Representatives. If the law calls for the establishment of a supervisory body, we must duly follow it," Lili said during the program "Special Interview With Claudius Boekan," aired by BeritaSatu TV on Friday night.

"I look at it from a positive point of view. We will become more professional if there's someone who supervises us, reminds us to stay within the law, and prevents us from implementing discriminatory policies," she said

The new KPK board of commissioners, led by former South Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Firli Bahuri, will be installed in December.

Lili pointed out that every other government agency has its own supervisory unit and that the KPK should not be an exception.

Critics said the requirement to obtain warrants from the president-appointed supervisory body to carry out wiretapping would slow the KPK's work and potentially erode its independence, but Lili dismissed such concerns.

The idea of establishing a supervisory body inside the agency was not without reason, Lili said.

"For instance, during the previous periods [of KPK leadership] there were public complaints about leaked information. Maybe the idea to establish a supervisory body came from there," she said. "If it is meant to make us more professional, prudent and equitable, why not? I see no problems at all."

Supervision is even more important when it comes to wiretapping, to ensure that investigators focus on their jobs of eradicating corruption, she added.

"There were people who have been wiretapped and then grossly improper things were made public. We have heard some recordings during court hearings that we laughed at, but which, in my opinion, should have been censored because it dealt with private matters with women," Lili said. "That is very humiliating. So if there is a team tasked with supervising the KPK's leaders concerning wiretaps, I will give my support."

Troubled Leader

On Sept. 13, House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, selected five of the 10 proposed candidates as new KPK commissioners for 2019-2023. 

Despite opposition from the KPK, Firli secured the votes of all 56 commission members, who unanimously decided to name him the next KPK chairman.

A couple days prior to the commission's voting, KPK commissioner Saut Situmorang led a press conference in which he accused Firli of breaching the agency's code of ethics while serving as its law enforcement deputy. Firli was accused of having met with then-West Nusa Tenggara Governor Muhammad Zainul Majdi in May last year. The governor was the subject of a KPK investigation at that time but never named a suspect.

However, Lili said the KPK's internal board did not find Firli guilty of any misconduct and that the selection process had been conducted openly, with enough time for the public to give input on the candidates.

"The entire [recruitment] process had been conducted in a very transparent manner and there was no evidence [against Firli]. Without any evidence, everyone has the same right as any other candidate," she said.

Hendardi, a member of the selection committee, said Saut's decision to tell the press about Firli's alleged violation was politically motivated. He added that the selection team previously consulted with the KPK about Firli and received confirmation that he was never found guilty of breaching ethics.

"I have no interest whatsoever in this, but I can say it was all about politics, because what [Saut] did, can be classified as character assassination," Hendardi said.

Mere hours after Firli was named the next KPK chairman, Saut submitted his resignation. However, he recently led a KPK press conference.