A ruling from the Constitutional Court and growing public support could be key for the Corruption Eradication Commission to keep the police at bay in a graft case involving two police generals, observers say
Police have insisted on their own investigation into the two generals, ignoring critics who have pointed out the inherent conflict of interest in such an investigation.
Apart from the conflict of interest, there is a point of law that the police seem intent on ignoring. The law that established the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) gives it the power to take over corruption investigations from other law-enforcement agencies. Despite the law, the National Police continues to insist that it has the authority to investigate the case, not the KPK.
Febridiansyah, from Indonesia Corruption Watch, told the Jakarta Globe that although Article 50 of the Corruption Eradication Commission Law clearly lays out the KPK’s authority to handle corruption cases, a court verdict on the issue could resolve the debate once and for all.
“The article says it all. Once a case is handled by the KPK, neither the police nor the Attorney General’s Office are allowed to get involved in it,” Febridiansyah said. “But a definite verdict from the court, and also public support, will help the KPK win this dispute.”
The KPK’s investigation into corruption claims surrounding a Rp 197 billion ($21 million) purchase of driving simulators has been challenged by the police. Police actions have resulted in talk that the police are trying to protect their own.
The antigraft body charged the former head of the National Police’s traffic division, Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, with allegedly receiving Rp 2 billion in bribe money from the two companies awarded the lucrative tender for the simulators. The KPK also charged three other officers.
Police said they started investigating the case before the KPK, and accused the anti-graft body of obstructing their work.
Three lawyers asked the Constitutional Court on Monday to provide a definite legal interpretation on the KPK Law, especially Article 50, Paragraph 3. The lawyers hope a court ruling will clearly establish the KPK’s jurisdiction.
Eva Kusuma Sundari, a lawmaker from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and a member of House of Representatives Commission III overseeing legal affairs, said that a ruling from the court would break the impasse.
Eva also said the public could also demand that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono immediately order the police to stop their investigation.
Hanta Yuda, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute, also highlighted the role of public pressure in pushing for a resolution of the standoff.
As Hanta put it, “the silent majority” can significantly contribute a positive resolution to this case.
Experts said the support could be directed in many ways, including through media or social media, as long as it reached the president.
“The public has the power to pressure the government,” Febridiansyah said.