A man rides his bicycle in front of the Constitutional Court building in Central Jakarta on June 24, 2019. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)
Disqualified KPK Employees Drop Legal Motion at Constitutional Court
BY :FANA SUPARMAN
JUNE 22, 2021
Jakarta. A group of Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) employees who have failed to qualify as civil servants dropped their legal motion at the Constitutional Court seeking a ruling to reinstate their status, one of the plaintiffs said on Tuesday.
The group comprises nine employees who claimed to represent all colleagues failing to pass the recruitment process.
The request for a judicial review into the matter was dropped on June 18 because it’s considered no longer relevant, according to Hotman Tambunan.
The plaintiffs have learned that the court already issued verdicts stating that the transformation of KPK investigators into civil servants is in conformity with the law and that the process should not cause unfair disadvantages to all employees, he said.
"The two rulings clearly and firmly provide a legal guidance for the process of transforming KPK employees into civil servants,” Hotman said.
The plaintiffs also included Rasamala Aritonang, Andre Dedy Nainggolan, Novariza, Faisal, Benydictus Siumlala Martin, Harun Al Rasyid, Lakso Anindito and Tri Artining Putri.
They previously claimed that they represented all 75 employees who failed to qualify as civil servants.
The KPK installed 1,271 employees as civil servants three weeks ago to follow a new law which has met resistance from an element of its investigators.
The swearing-in ceremony has drawn controversy because only those passing the so-called nationalism test are eligible to become employees.
They swore the oath to uphold and protect state ideology Pancasila and the constitution and pledged allegiance to the government.
At least 75 members have failed the test, including top investigator Novel Baswedan and KPK union leader Yudi Purnomo.
Both men have previously refused the transition on the grounds that it could erode independency of the respected commission and open door to government intervention in anti-corruption investigations.
Of the 75 employees, 51 will be permanently dismissed from the KPK but it remains unclear if Novel and Yudi are among them.
They have handled high-profile corruption cases, most recently against Social Affairs Minister Juliari Batubara, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo, South Sulawesi Governor Nurdin Abdullah and General Election Commissioner Wahyu Setiawan.
Since the KPK law was amended in 2019, at least 38 KPK employees have resigned in disagreement.
Why is the amended law contentious?
The government and the House of Representatives agreed to amend the 2002 Law on the KPK on the grounds that the commission had been too powerful while there was a lack of an oversight body.
The move came shortly after President Joko Widodo was sworn in for his second term and triggered nationwide protests over allegations that the new law would cripple the respected anti-graft agency.
At least two students were killed during marathon rallies across the country that often erupted in violent clashes with security officials.
The amended law introduced an oversight body inside the commission, made it mandatory for all KPK staff to join the civil service and strip off the commissioners' once wide-ranging authority to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.
KPK investigators cannot wiretap suspects without prior approval from the oversight body.
Then KPK Deputy Chairman Laode M. Syarif said at that time that dismantling the KPK commissioners' authorities is tantamount to "killing" the anti-graft agency.
The KPK also loses its privilege as an independent state agency, because its entire staff are required to join the civil service, he said.
Furthermore, the new law creates a loophole stemming from the president-appointed oversight body that may cause troubles in the future.
The oversight body is authorized to give permits for wiretaps or asset seizures, but it’s made up of civilians who have no authority to investigate a case or prosecute suspects.
The KPK has won reputation for uncovering high-profile graft cases involving top politicians and close cronies of past presidents.
However, it often came under media scrutiny for alleged political moves. During the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections, the KPK arrested party leaders with close ties to presidential candidates when the voting date was approaching.