The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said it would bring by force a number of police generals and middle-ranking officers who skipped questioning on Tuesday to complete the dossiers of National Police chief candidate Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan.
The antigraft body made the decision after the police officers failed to turn up twice for questioning and its request to the National Police to allow them to testify went unheeded.
KPK spokesman Priharsa Nugraha said KPK investigators had rescheduled for next week, questioning for Insp. Gen Andayono, currently the East Kalimantan police chief, Adj. First. Insp. Revindo Taufik Gunawan Siahaan and Brig. Gen. (ret.) Heru Purwanto after they failed to show up on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, National Police general crime investigations director Brig. Gen. Herry Prastowo, Sr. Comr. Ibnu Isticha, who is Budi's subordinate at the Police Education Institute (Lemdikpol), and Jombang deputy police chief Comr. Sumardi also failed to meet their summons after ignoring the KPK's first request to testify last week.
Priharsa said KPK investigators had the legal grounds to bring the high-ranking police officers by force.
"If investigators decide that they intentionally defied the summons without strong reason, we could [bring them by force next week]," Priharsa said, citing the Criminal Law Procedures Code [KUHAP].
Priharsa said some of the police generals failed to notify the KPK about their absence. "Andayono and Revindo did not notify us. As for Heru, he claimed he was sick today. His lawyer brought his letter today," Priharsa said.
On Monday, the KPK said it would issue a third summons letter for Herry, Ibnu and Sumardi as well as send copies of the summonses to the President and Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno to inform the State Palace about the defiance.
Meanwhile, despite President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's order that the National Police cooperate in the KPK's investigation into Budi's graft case, the National Police headquarters defended the no-shows of their personnel, saying that they could be justified.
National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said that since many of the officers being called to testify were active personnel, they might have had other commitments that were far more pressing than meeting their summons.
"Their absence should not be a problem as long as the witnesses and the investigators follow the proper procedures. If a witness can't meet the first summons then he or she must disclose their reasons," he said.
Rikwanto said, however, with regard to a second summons, a witness could ignore it without informing the KPK.
He also called on the KPK to check if the summonses had reached police officers targeted for questioning.
"We should find out why they failed to show. The investigators must first check whether or not the summonses reached their hands because their absence might have been because of these technicalities," he said.
Witnesses could only be brought by force if they received a summons but chose to ignore it, Rikwanto said.
Separately, National Police deputy chief Badrodin Haiti, who was recently named acting National Police chief by the President, said all witnesses from the police force must meet the summons.
"I have already ordered that the witnesses from the police force meet the KPK's summons," Badrodin said on Tuesday.