New KPK leadership hopes to resolve internal conflicts

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Public discussion “What’s Wrong with KPK” held in Jakarta on Wednesday (25/09/2019). (photo: IO/Dan)

IO, Jakarta – The Revision of Law Number 30 of 2002 concerning the Corruption Eradication Commission (known with the abriviation “KPK”), validated in the House of Repre­sentatives (DPR) Plenary Meeting held in the Parliamentary Building, Jakarta, on Tuesday (17/09/2019) caused masses of people to break out in demonstrations. There are 7 points validated in the KPK Law, the formation of a Supervisory Council, the authority to issue an Inquiry Termination Order (Surat Perintah Penghentian Penyidikan – “SP3”), the obligation to require wiretapping ap­proval from the Supervisory Council, to the change of KPK staff status into the State’s Civil Apparatus (Aparatur Sipil Negara – “ASN”).

The formulator of KPK Law, Prof. Romli Atmasasmita, said that the pros and cons over the revision of KPK Law proves that KPK no longer has strong, total social legitimacy from the people. He believes that it is time for KPK Law to be revised, as it has applied for too long. This means that the Law needs updating and ad­justments for issues that are not yet or are not clearly regulated in it. In fact, within 17 years since its estab­lishment, the KPK, especially Gener­ation III KPK, has deviated from the initial purpose of its establishment. He stated that the revision would not weaken the KPK, but will turn it into a better and more transparent agency instead. “I have reviewed the Draft Law many times. After all, I as the formulator of the Law is worried that it might cause KPK to lose its independence. As I studied it, I found that the articles concerning the du­ties and authorities of KPK do not change at all. In fact, they are actu­ally improved,” he said in the pub­lic discussion “What’s Wrong with KPK” held in Jakarta on Wednesday (25/09/2019).

Romli stated that in order to see whether KPK is independent or not, whether it has been weakened or not, is simply by looking at its duties and authorities. “If their duties and au­thorities are reduced, then they are weakened. On the contrary, this re­vised law strengthens KPK’s duties and authorities. That’s it. Just look at any single article, you can see that the Draft Revision does not weaken the agency at all,” he said.

Romli further cited KPK’s wiretap­ping as an example. He noted the fact that the results of KPK’s wiretapping has never been audited again by the Ministry of Communication and In­formatics since 2009. This is the ef­fect of the Supreme Court ruling that wiretapping cannot be regulated by Ministerial Regulation, but must be regulated by Law. Furthermore, he supports the existence of KPK’s Su­pervisory Council as an important organ that ensures that both leaders and investigators work according to applicable laws and not act lawless­ly, as KPK’s Advisory Team is useless and its internal monitoring is both helpless and ineffective. “In other words, KPK inquirers and leaders were happy with their freedom, as they are not monitored. Therefore, they don’t know what is wrong, what is improper,” he said.

Political Communications Ex­pert and Pelita Harapan University’s Post-Graduate Lecturer Emrus Si­hombing stated that the KPK Law re­vision is performed as if through the insistence of outsiders, even though it is meant to resolve KPK internal issues.

“It is as if KPK is being weakened by outsiders, while it faces a lot of challenges from the inside as well,” he said. As a communication expert, Emrus stated that KPK leader’s ac­tion of surrendering its mandate to the President and to reject the new leader to be a bad political move. “A person already entering KPK must be independent, neutral, and profes­sional in line with applicable laws. If they disagree with the revisions of KPK Law, they must leave. As for surrendering mandate, KPK leaders are not appointed by the President like the Ministers are. As Mr. Presi­dent has said, there is no such thing as surrendering the mandate, the only thing is to either resign or die. By that token, they should have re­signed already. How come they re­main in office?” he asked.

As for the issuance of SP3, KPK is given this authority because many people are charged and ignored with­out further process of law for years. It is as if KPK is meting out social punishment, while they might be not guilty as KPK sometimes have not found sufficient evidence. “Therefore, future leaders of KPK should request help from universities to research about its internal weaknesses. This will help KPK to conclude which of their staff do not pull their weight in the resolution of KPK cases. We should not be selective in the effort to eradicate corruption. Naturally, we hope that future KPK leaders can help eradicate corruption not just through the downstream process of sting operations, while leaving the upstream, i.e. the brains, untouched. It would be much better for KPK to strengthen its management system all the way to the process of auditing KPK’s inquirers and investigators, staff, and management. Now is the time for professional KPK staff to ex­pose KPK’s own internal issues to the public,” he said.

Meanwhile, law practitioner and former Commission for Auditing the Wealth of State Officials (Komi­si Pemeriksaan Kekayaan Pejabat Negara – “KPKPN”) Commissioner Petrus Salestinus stated that one of the reasons behind KPK’s failure is that it fails to expose indications of corruptions hinted in mandatory State Official Asset and Wealth Re­port (Laporan Harta dan Kekayaan Pejabat Negara – “LHKPN”), while KPK can determine the origins of any State Official’s wealth using reverse proving. Petrus believes that LHK­PN management in all of the State’s institutions, agencies, and ministries should be supported, because it has been a weak point for KPK for so long. We have never heard KPK hav­ing resolved a State Administrator corruption case based on tracking of LHKPNs. We have never heard KPK clarifying and verifying any of the LHKPN submitted to it either, while KPK Regulation No. 07 of 2016 states that KPK shall establish an LHKPN Processing Unit in all Government agencies. However, there is no such thing in reality even now,” he said.

Petrus then reiterates that re­vision of KPK Law is an effort to strengthen KPK as an institution. “We still need revisions of KPK Law in order to strengthen it, not to weaken it as many people are con­cerned about, as there are some issues that must still be regulated properly about KPK,” he said. Petrus also agreed that KPK Law revision is meant to correct KPK from the inside. He hopes that the new leaders of KPK will hold a joint study with law ex­perts to create a corruption eradica­tion systems and models that will im­prove KPK performance in the future. (Dan)