Saturday, 2 May 2009

Indonesian Corruption Commission, fake and phony?

Indonesian Corruption Commission, fake and phony?
By Bali BS News
Aug 3, 2005, 05:58

The Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi is the presidentially appointed Indonesian Commission for Corruption Reduction and before any other point is made, the fact that it is for a reduction in corruption, not elimination, is probably a Freudian faux pas in itself. The commission was set up under the direction of Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, after he came into power (20/10/04) on the wave of anti-corruption promises to the Indonesian people.

But there are very real and worrying signs that President Yudhoyono either set up the KPK (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi AKA Commission for Corruption Reduction) either so ineffectively so as to question his ability, or to question his intention. Perhaps as a smoke screen to an agenda to be yet another Indonesian politician to play the corruption game to their own end. If you look at how the commission functions, or rather does not function, you will see that it is hardly likely to deliver results, just presidential PR.

First, the corruption problem in Indonesia is well known to be worst with the police and judiciary (courts). In fact, in Transparency International's last survey (2003) into which countries had what corruption problems and where, Indonesian courts came second only to Peru in the worst corruption league for courts. Judiciary (court) corruption is seen to be more significant than and actually include police corruption itself, as it implies the entire system, rather then just the police are corrupt. In fact, Indonesian corruption was reported to have increased rapidly in recent years, especially under President Yudhoyono predecessor's term (Megawati). It is therefore highly likely that the Indonesian police and judiciary are now the most corrupt in the whole world. So the KPK would obviously need to tackle this specific area in order to be an effective anti-corruption commission. The problem is they clearly did not set up the KPK in a way that it can be taken seriously and / or work effectively.

You see, in order for anyone to bring a corruption complaint against the police or judiciary, it is common sense that complainants would need to be protected against some form of retribution by the very same corrupt police and their colluding prosecutors and judges as they are complaining about. Think about it, put yourself in an Indonesian’s shoes, remember the Indonesian police are all powerful and have a substantial record of both civil and human right abuse. Would you make a complaint of corruption against a senior police officer, prosecutor and / or judge if you were not afforded protection against retribution from them? No, of course you would not. It seems pretty obvious that an obvious and fundamental part of setting up a corruption commission would be to ensure complainant safety. So why did President Yudhoyono and his advisors fail to do this?

Secondly, it is also common sense that you need to be able to investigate police officers, prosecutors and judges with a team that is dedicated to the cause, not potentially dedicated to the same corruption as the people they are investigating. In many countries this takes the form of a specialist police department or commission who only investigate police officers. So what does the KPK do when they decide a police officer, prosecutor and / or judge needs to be investigated? Why, they instruct other regular police officers to investigate the complaint of course. In the recent commission complaint case of Candi Internet Bali, the senior police officers, prosecutors and judges involved in closing down Candi are to be investigated by none other than the chief of police for Indonesia and the state prosecutor. Isn’t this akin to having Radovan Karadzic investigate Slobodan Milosevic?

Finally, the cream on the top comes from the fact that the Indonesian police can prosecute any complainant against them for criminal libel! That’s right, if you make a complaint to the Commission for Corruption Reduction against the police or judiciary, the Indonesian police can legally investigate you for criminal libel on the basis you described them as corrupt to the commission and that it is a criminal offence in Indonesia to defame a law enforcement officer. Of course, who gets to decide what constitutes defamation and what is speaking the truth and civil right? The police, prosecutors and judges of course; there are no juries in Indonesia! So if you dare to report police, etc. corruption, not only would you likely risk illegal retribution but also legal detention! Too ridiculous to be true? Believe it; ask poor Sang Ayu, the director of Candi Internet. So who would be prepared to file a corruption complaint in Indonesia? What would happen to that complaint and what would be the conclusion?

So, you decide. Is President Yudhoyono earnest in taking corruption on as he promised, or is he simply playing that old fiddle? Perhaps our later reports on what has been happening in Indonesia under his control will help you decide! We sincerely hope we are wrong but think he simply plays a merry tune, albeit one that does bring joy for the people of Indonesia.

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