Threats reported against KPK investigators

Threats reported against KPK investigators
This photo taken on February 3, 2015 shows deputy chief of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Bambang Widjojanto (3rd R), being escorted by police as they emerge from an investigation at Jakarta police headquarters.

JAKARTA - As the pretrial hearing on top cop candidate Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan proceeded on Wednesday, the leadership of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) confirmed that some of the antigraft body's investigators and its legal team members had received threats, including ones against their lives.

KPK commissioner Bambang Widjojanto, who was named a perjury suspect by the National Police just days after the KPK declared Budi a bribery suspect, said investigators handling Budi's case and members of the commission's legal division, as well as members of their families, had received threats ranging from intimidation to death threats via short text messages.

Bambang said the antigraft body had set up a special team to investigate the threats after finding enough evidence to show they were "very serious".

"As of today, I am letting the team investigate them. I don't want to point a finger at anyone yet. Hopefully, we can soon inform the public of the result of the team's investigation," he said.

Meanwhile, a member of the independent team assigned by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to solve the current standoff between the KPK and the National Police, Jimly Asshidiqie, also confirmed the threats and said that the team would consult Jokowi about them.

"The threats were made through text messages, phone calls and other means. We call on all parties not to escalate the tension, as already ordered by the President," he said after meeting with the KPK.

Jimly said that Jokowi had instructed the KPK and the National Police to temporarily freeze their investigations on both Budi and Bambang until the South Jakarta District Court announced on Monday its decision on Budi's pretrial petition.

At the pretrial hearing, after failing to prove that the KPK's decision to name Budi a bribery suspect was marred by a conflict of interest, lawyers of the National Police chief candidate were unable to build an argument that the decision was flawed because it had been made without the agreement of all KPK leaders.

The KPK currently has four commissioners, Abraham Samad, Zulkarnain, Adnan Pandu Praja and Bambang Widjojanto, following the conclusion of commissioner Busyro Muqoddas' term in December 2014 - one month before the four made a decision on Budi on Jan. 13.

During the pretrial hearing, Budi's legal team presented four expert witnesses, including Padjadjaran University law professor Romli Atmasasmita who insisted that all decisions made by the KPK had to be made by all five commissioners. He was a graft convict who was sentenced to two years in prison by the South Jakarta district court in 2009.

"Five is the absolute number [for the KPK leadership]. If there are fewer than five, then according to Article 32 of the Law No. 30/2002 on the KPK there must be a replacement," said Romli, who was also a member of a government-sanctioned team tasked to draw up the KPK Law in the late 1990s.

KPK lawyer Chatarina M. Girsang then challenged Romli about his statement.

"It is clear that there is no single sub-article in the Article 21 that says that the decision to name someone a suspect must be made by all five leaders," she said.

The source of dispute is the phrase "consists of" in sub-article 1 point A in Article 21, which stipulates that the "KPK leadership consists of five commissioners."

Based on the stipulation, Budi's lawyers insisted that the KPK leaders must consist of five people, from which they further interpreted that any decision made must be made by all five commissioners.

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