Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti, sitting in front, looks over his shoulder to his top officers. (Antara Foto/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Plan to Nominate Active Police Officers for KPK Posts Receives Mixed Reaction

JUNE 14, 2015

Jakarta. The announcement from the National Police that they plan to nominate two serving officers to become leaders in Indonesia's anti-graft agency has garnered mixed reaction from observers.

National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti said on Friday that the police would nominate two active police officers and one retiree as candidates for five open positions at the Corruption Eradication Agency (KPK).

The KPK commissioner selection team earlier this month visited the National Police to ask the force to run background checks on candidates.

After the meeting, the police reportedly expressed an interest in nominating their own candidates for the leadership of the respected anti-graft body.

The move has raised eyebrows among some commentators, especially at a time when the police force is seen as in direct conflict with the KPK.

University of Indonesia criminologist Adrianus Meliala said although police officers should not be prohibited from running for a KPK commissioner post, the police force themselves should not nominate candidates to represent the institution.

“Ideally, [KPK commissioner candidates] should come from various backgrounds, including police, prosecutors’ offices, civil society groups and women’s representatives,” said Adrianus, who is also a member of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas), which advises the president on police affairs.

Adrianus said candidates should nominate themselves based on self-motivation, not because of others.

"There should be no impression that KPK consists of representatives from other institutions, which will hamper the KPK’s work,” he told Kompas daily on Friday.

Furthermore, Adrianus added, if sent on behalf of an institution, there are concerns that the institution will feel “offended” when their representatives are not selected in the process.

House of Representatives deputy speaker Fahri Hamzah, however, has welcome the police’s initiative to nominate their members for commissioner posts.

“If necessary, perhaps all KPK leaders should come from police, because eventually they will have to serve as investigators. So support [the police’s move]. [The candidates] do need to be law enforcers,” Fahri told tribunnews.com.

He added if police had representatives among KPK commissioners, perhaps conflicts between the two institutions would end and their anti-graft moves could be more synergized and integrated.

“KPK is not a solo player; everyone must be involved in corruption eradication,” he said.

Separately, Attorney General’s Office spokesman Tony Tribagus Spontana said the AGO might also consider nominating prosecutors as KPK commissioners.

He was quoted by Kompas as saying that the selection committee was scheduled to meet the attorney general this week, and “AGO members’ participation in the KPK commissioner selection may be among things discussed.”

Tony added retired prosecutors were free to apply for the positions themselves, but active prosecutors must first seek a permission from the AGO.

Aside from former lawyers like suspended KPK chief Abraham Samad and his deputy Bambang Widjojanto — also suspended amid charges on an old case by police, several retired and active police members and prosecutors have been selected as KPK commissioners.

Current acting chief Taufiequrachman Ruki, who was also the first chief of the anti-graft body when it was established in 2003, is a retired police general. A former KPK deputy chief, Bibit Samad Rianto, who served between 2007 and 2011, is also a retired police general.

Antasari Azhar was an active prosecutor who left the AGO after he was selected to lead the KPK in 2007. He was fired two years later after he was convicted in a murder case. Retired prosecutor Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean also served as a KPK deputy chief in the previous period.

The registration period for KPK commissioner selection opened on June 5 and will be closed on June 24. The selection committee is also reportedly searching for prospective candidates during visits to nine large Indonesian cities, including Padang, Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Balikpapan and Makassar.

As of Friday, a total of 70 people had reportedly applied for five commissioner posts. The new appointments will lead the KPK for the next fours, from 2015 to 2019.

The selection committee has until Aug. 31 to submit eight short-listed names to the president, before a final screening stage by the House of Representatives “fit and proper tests."