KPK Urged to Form Ethics Committee to Preempt External Intervention

FEBRUARY 03, 2015

Jakarta. To preempt attempts at weakening Indonesia's feared antigraft body, activists are urging the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to form its own ethics commission to investigate alleged violations by its leaders.

"In the KPK law it is mentioned that if there is an indication of an ethics violation, an ethics committee can be formed," Zainal Arifin Muchtar, the director of Gadjah Mada University's Center for Corruption Studies (Pukat UGM), told on Tuesday.

Zainal said that the KPK's silence in the face of several lawsuits recently brought against its leaders could damage the institution.

The expert said that an ethics committee consisting of both KPK people and outsiders could conduct its own an investigation and question witnesses to find out whether or not KPK leaders have violated the law.

KPK chief Abraham Samad has been reported to the police for allegedly meeting with some Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politicians. The PDI-P's acting secretary general, Hasto Kristianto, claimed Abraham met with party cadres last year to discuss the possibility of the KPK leader running for vice president.

Abraham was also accused of meeting with PDI-P people who asked him to go easy on party members implicated in graft cases.

"Let the ethics committee determine whether or not Abraham has committed an ethics violation or a crime," Zainal said.

The coordinator of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), Ade Irawan, meanwhile said Abraham must explain why he met these politicians, to end the speculation that could damage the KPK's credibility.

"We need to understand the context of the meeting — whether it was a secret meeting that the KPK knew nothing about, if that's the case, KPK has an internal procedure [to decide on what should be done]," Ade said. "But if it was just a seminar or regular meeting of course there will be no problem."

Abraham has previously said that he did occasionally meet with politicians at public events, under "inevitable circumstances."

However, Abraham maintains that he has committed no violations by taking part in such meetings.

Instead, Abraham says the cases brought against himself and his deputies are part of a concerted effort to strip the antigraft body of its authority.

The KPK's director for corruption prevention, Johan Budi, has called on President Joko Widodo to intervene.

"If all leaders have been named suspects and are no longer active, the KPK will have no leaders, I believe this is the time for President Joko Widodo to do something," Johan said.

The cases brought against KPK leaders are all old and only started resurfacing after the agency named Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, the president's nominee to become chief of National Police, a corruption suspect last month.