Indonesia police drop probe into deputy police chief

Indonesia police drop probe into deputy police chief
Budi Gunawan.

In another blow to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the National Police announced Tuesday they had dropped their investigation into an allegation that deputy police chief Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan had numerous bank accounts full of billions of rupiah in bribes.

The director of economic and special crimes at the National Police's Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim), Sr. Comr. Victor Edi Simanjuntak, who is in charge of the investigation, said the decision to drop the probe was made in April in a joint case review, involving police investigators handling the case and other legal experts.

The consensus at the meeting was that Bareskrim should not follow up on the KPK's dossiers on Budi due to a lack of evidence.

"No more follow ups [will come now that] the forum concluded that the KPK's documents [on Budi] were not worthy of an investigation. Not to mention that the pretrial decision ruled that the KPK's investigation was illegitimate. After all, what else is there to investigate?" Victor told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

In January, the KPK named Budi a suspect for alleged financial misdeeds in his capacity as head of the Career Development Bureau at the National Police from 2004 to 2006, where he amassed a total of Rp 95 billion (S$9.6 million), allegedly acquired through bribes and gratuities, including bribes allegedly paid by officers in pursuit of higher police posts.

The KPK's bold move forced President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to postpone inaugurating the three-star police general as National Police chief for a month before finally dropping Budi's candidacy in March after mounting public outcries.

Following the KPK's move, the police moved against two KPK commissioners, Abraham Samad and Bambang Widjojanto, by naming them suspects in petty criminal cases.

After a month-long standoff, the KPK passed its probe into Budi onto the Attorney General's Office (AGO), which then allowed the police to take it over.

Victor claimed that the police's decision to drop the case had strong backing as it had won approval from legal experts Chairul Huda of Muhammadiyah University in Jakarta and Teuku Nasrullah of the University of Indonesia as well as Yenti Garnasih, a criminal law and money laundering expert from Trisakti University in Jakarta.

Contacted separately, Yenti denied she took part in the April forum, saying that she was invited by the police to review Budi's case, only to have the meeting cancelled by the force.

"I don't think I got another invitation [after that]. They can't claim that I recommended the case be dropped because the truth is I was not there," Yenti said.

Yenti said she had been to Bareskrim once, but not for a case review. She was shown Budi's dossiers at that time but was not asked for her opinion or recommendation.

"How could a recommendation be made without a case review? I dare not make a conclusion by only glancing at the case dossiers," Yenti said.

Meanwhile, Chairul said he attended the case review in April and found that Budi's dossiers from the KPK contained only weak evidence.

In addition, Teuku confirmed the lack of evidence in Budi's dossiers, but he said that the dossiers could have been corrupted during the transfer process from the KPK to the AGO and later to the police.

"This is strange because it is impossible for the KPK to name someone a suspect, not to mention naming a three-star police general, without collecting enough evidence. I am also not sure whether the dossiers were fully exposed or not because I don't believe that the KPK gave such incomplete dossiers to the AGO," Teuku said.

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