Eight of the 10 political parties in the House of Representatives want an explanation from the president about why he canceled Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan nomination for police chief. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Lawmakers Approve Graft Suspect Budi as Next Police Chief

JANUARY 14, 2015

Jakarta. The House of Representatives, or DPR, has approved Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan as Indonesia's next National Police chief, despite him being named a graft suspect this week.

"After listening to the factions' aspirations the plenary has agreed with President Joko Widodo's [nomination] sent on Jan.9," said lawmaker Azis Syamsuddin, head of Commission III in the DPR.

Azis said lawmakers appointed Budi with "acclamation" and current police chief, Gen. Sutarman, who is only due to retire in October, can be relieved of his duty.

Lawmakers approved Budi's nomination after he was subjected to a fit-and-proper test at the DPR building in Senayan. Commmission III, which oversees legal affairs as part of its duties, will formalize the appointment.

Budi, Joko's sole candidate for police chief, was on Tuesday named a graft suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK.

The announcement followed a six-month investigation into irregularities in Budi’s bank accounts as flagged by the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, or PPATK, the government’s anti-money-laundering watchdog, in 2010.

The nomination by Joko on Friday rankled antigraft watchdogs and activists who had hoped the president would appoint a reformer to clean up the police force, long identified as Indonesia’s most corrupt government institution.

Joko, however, has refused to withdraw the nomination.