President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono officially recommended on Thursday two final candidates the deputy-chairman post at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
The president received the two candidate names - incumbent KPK deputy chairman Busyro Muqoddas and Cabinet Secretariat staff member Roby Arya Brata - from a government committee tasked with the selection, making them his official recommendation for a fit-and-proper test at the House of Representatives, the final stage of the selection.
While Busyro's appointment is expected as he has been favoured by his colleagues at the KPK to undertake another term, the recommendation for Roby has raised concerns as his affiliation with Yudhoyono may help the retiring president to shield himself and his family from possible corruption charges.
Roby has been the head of international relations at the Cabinet Secretariat since 2011.
Yudhoyono and his ruling Democratic Party have been linked to the 2008 Bank Century bailout case, which has already implicated Vice President Boediono, while Yudhoyono's youngest son Edhie "Ibas" Baskoro has been implicated in a number of graft cases handled by the antigraft body.
Selection committee spokesman Imam Prasodjo, who is also a University of Indonesia (UI) sociologist, said he believed there was no lobbying to secure Roby as one of the final candidates.
"We have done so many reviews [on integrity, leadership, independence and competency], including weighing up those [reviews] conducted by independent reviewers. Roby showed consistency in the whole process. I believe that there was no hidden agenda to vest [his name]," Imam told a press conference after the meeting.
Imam later said that Roby, who holds a PhD in public policy and governance from the Australian National University, had also showed commitment to fighting corruption, saying that he "has long been concerned with matters relating to the prevention of corruption".
The committee later called on the House to put aside political considerations in choosing a succeeding candidate.
During a meeting earlier on Thursday, Yudhoyono said he "will not intervene with the names" and "hopes the process at the House will use the same standards [that the selection committee used] in the determining the result".
Roby denied allegations that he was a Yudhoyono man, intentionally picked to undergo a fit-and-proper test at the House.
"For those who know me well, they know that I am not an SBY boy. Although I worked at the Cabinet Secretariat, I played an antagonist role to the government programs. I have written a book that strongly criticizes SBY's administration," Roby told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Another selection team committee member, Rhenald Kasali, also shrugged off the allegations, saying that Roby was a figure who could not be controlled by the State Palace.
"Our examination during the selection process found that he was a character with strong integrity, who cannot be bought or controlled by those who have power, including the State Palace," Rhenald told the Post on Thursday.
Rhenald said that the selection team had already predicted such a public reaction due to Roby's current position.
Emerson Yuntho of the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said the public must now monitor the process at the House to ensure no political bargaining took place during the final stage.
The committee has verified Roby's wealth and found no problems, although Roby had not previously submitted an official wealth report - as he was only an Echelon III civil servant - other than the one he submitted to the committee.
Roby, who is also a public policy lecturer for postgraduate students at the University of Indonesia's School of Economics, has a total of Rp 309 million (S$30,900) in assets, comprising a house in Depok, West Java, worth Rp 100 million, a rusun (low-cost apartment) worth Rp 144 million and a 1997 BMW sedan worth Rp 65 million.