Indonesia's anti-graft body leaders divided over ex-commissioners’ cases

Acting Corruption Eradication Commissioner (KPK) leaders are of different minds when it comes to lobbying President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to stop the criminalization of two former commissioners being prosecuted by the National Police.

Interim KPK deputy chairman Johan Budi said Tuesday he would ask Jokowi to instruct Attorney General M. Prasetyo to halt the prosecution of Bambang Widjojanto and Abraham Samad. The National Police have sent the dossiers of Bambang and Samad to the Attorney General's Office (AGO).

"I personally think that dropping the case is the best option in Pak Bambang's case. The prerogative lies with the attorney general, but it must be approved by the President first. As KPK commissioner I will try to talk to the attorney general and the President about it," Johan said.

Abraham and Bambang were named suspects by the National Police in what many see as petty or trumped-up cases of forgery and perjury, respectively, after in January the commission declared Budi Gunawan a bribery suspect.

After the police's move to name Bambang and Abraham suspects, Jokowi suspended both from their posts at the KPK and replaced them with Johan, who previously served as KPK deputy for prevention unit, former police general Taufiequrachman Ruki and well-known legal expert Indriyanto Seno Adji.

The KPK named Budi a suspect for financial misdeeds in his capacity as head of the Career Development Bureau at the National Police headquarters from 2004 to 2006, where he amassed a total of Rp 95 billion (US$7.53 million) allegedly collected from bribes and gratuities, including bribes paid by officers in pursuit of higher positions in the force.

The National Police named Bambang a suspect for allegedly encouraging perjury when he was a lawyer in a local election dispute in 2010, one year before he was sworn in as KPK commissioner in 2011. A recent investigation by the Association of Indonesian Advocates (Peradi) confirmed that Bambang committed no perjury in the case.

Meanwhile, Abraham has been accused of falsifying citizenship documents in Makassar in 2007, four years before he was named KPK chairman in 2011. He was accused of including a woman identified as Ferriyani Lim on his list of family members to help her get a passport in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Legal experts said Abraham's alleged offence was inappropriate to be tried in court, but police decided to bring his case to court anyway.

Johan said Bambang would have the right to be reinstated as KPK commissioner if the AGO issued an order to halt the probe into his case.

Indriyanto greed with Johan's view, adding it was better if the two cases were solved before December.

"This is completely the domain of the AGO, but I think the cases should be solved to bring better harmony between the KPK and the police," Indriyanto said.

Meanwhile, Ruki said he not would take any action regarding Bambang and Abraham's cases, as doing so could be seen as interfering with the legal process at the AGO.

"I will not address the question because we don't want to be involved in issues where we don't have authority," Ruki said.

Ruki was strongly criticised in March when, shortly after being installed as temporary leader of the commission, he decided to transfer Budi's case to the AGO, which later handed over the case to the National Police.