Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Police Chief Candidate Budi Named Corruption Suspect by KPK

JANUARY 13, 2015

Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

[This story was updated at 3:19 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, to add details and background]

Jakarta. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan a graft suspect, just days after he was nominated by President Joko Widodo to become the nation's next chief of National Police.

"Comr. Gen. B.G. is a suspect in a graft case that took place when he was serving as the head of the [police's ] career-building office," KPK chief Abraham Samad told a press conference on Tuesday.

Abraham said KPK investigators, who have been studying the case since July last year, have found several irregularities in financial transactions involving Budi.

Budi’s appointment had already triggered resistance because of suspicions concerning the size of his personal bank accounts.

The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) in 2010 released a report of several police generals with suspiciously hefty bank accounts, and Budi was on the list.

Police claim that the suspicion against Budi had been cleared following the police’s internal investigations as a follow-up to the PPATK finding.

“The result [of the investigation] said there was no problem [with Budi’s bank accounts]. If anything suspicious was found, surely it would have been followed up at that time,” National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said on Saturday.

But the KPK clearly thinks otherwise, as Abraham said on Tuesday that the case against Budi was indeed related to the so-called 'fat bank accounts' of senior police officers identified by the PPATK.

The president nominated Budi — the head of the police’s Education Institute (Lemdikpol) — as the new National Police chief in a letter that was sent to the House of Representatives on Friday. The general was set to undergo a fit-and-proper test and then replace Gen. Sutarman, the current police chief, later this year following the latter's retirement.

Budi has no membership in any political party, but he is a known close aide of the chairwoman the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Megawati Soekarnoputri. He served as her adjutant during her term as president from 2001 to 2004. He also served as provincial police chief twice, for Bali and Jambi, before heading the Lemdikpol.

The deputy head of the Commission III at the House, which oversees legal affairs, said on Tuesday that with Budi being named a suspect, the scheduled fit-and-proper test would be canceled.

"We haven't even started yet but with this [latest development] it cannot go on," Benny K. Harman said.