Anti-Corruption Weekly Digest: Update 2015 October 19-23

Jokowi's First Year: A Challenge on Corruption Eradication

From the outset, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) rose to power with an abundant of public expectation. The people's long held yearnings for a national welfare, so long drowned by corrupt regimes, resurfaced strongly with the inauguration of Jokowi as the President.

At the least, Jokowi brought a strong capital for having clean image, good integrity, and concern for the people's agenda. In addition, he has a distance from Indonesia's traditional oligarchy regimes. He was not a party elite, a military official, nor a conglomerate who capitalize on political ties.

However, after one year in power, it became apparent that Jokowi need to contain delicate situations. Jakarta's economic and political elites keep pressing to have their interests accommodated, either with positions in public offices or with expanded access for their private business to capitalize upon.

The consequences were fatal, principally for the anti-corruption agenda. Jokowi erroneously appoint public officials to govern over law enforcement agencies, the National Police and the Attorney General. Rather than aiding the President to enforce the law as part of the ideals of Nawacita, Jokowi's campaign programs, these two offices dived headfirst in a wave of controversies that further drowned the positive image of the elected government.

Jokowi must also accepted defeat after a number of aides inside his circle of power turned out to carry real business interests and quickly capitalize on their strategic positions in order to seize economic gains. His various achievements in consolidating power among Jakarta's political and economic elites are consequences of Jokowi's weak political position. Basically, his background is both beneficial as well as detrimental.

As he did not come from Jakarta's elite circles, his position as President lacks a strong groundwork. In evidence, his subordinates -who were supposed to be loyal only to his policies- each have their own masters, their party leaders. These subordinates, ministers as well as ministry-level officials, too often ignored the President direct instructions. This was blatantly and repeatedly reflected in the attempts to criminalize commissioners of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), in the attempts to revise KPK Law, as well as other instances where his ministers ignore direct Presidential instructions to halt any attempts that can dwindle the corruption eradication agenda.

Meanwhile, Jokowi also have weak political position at the parliament. He eventually accommodated his supporting coalition that demands ministerial positions or public offices. About 45% of ministerial position are now controlled by representatives from his supporting coalition of parties. This is something that Jokowi himself had pledged to resist during his campaigns.

Indeed, one must appreciate every serious measures that Jokowi had taken in order to effect changes and progress. The President deserves support for his bureaucratic reforms, specially designed to create a conducive and attentive business climate, as well as his program to reform management of natural resources, the war against illegal fishing, public infrastructure construction programs and his many other populist agenda.

And yet, it also become apparent that Jokowi would never achieve any fundamental reform, particularly with regards to the anti-corruption agenda, so long as he is incapable to severe ties that bind him wt the interests of political and business elites in Jakarta.***

Again, Parliamentarians Caught in Corruption

More appalling news have arrived from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). In the space of just six days, KPK arrested two members of the House of Representatives (DPR) in two different cases. Soon after naming a member of the National Democrat (NasDem) faction Patrice Rio Capella as suspect (15/10), KPK arrested a member of the People's Conscience (Hanura) faction, Dewie Yasin Limpo (21/10).

Dewie was put under 24-hours examination immediately after she was apprehended in Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Thereupon, KPK named her as suspect for receiving bribery to fix a 2016 budget for a micro-hydro power plant construction project in Deiyai Regent, Papua. The sister of current South Sulawesi Governor, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, was subsequently detained.

Only a week prior, KPK had also named Patrice Rio Capella as a suspect. His case was an expansion of investigation of the corruption case that had already implicated Governor of North Sumatera, Gatot Pujo Nugroho. Both Gatot and his wife, Evy Susanti, were named as suspects after allegedly bribing judges and clerks at Medan Administrative Court (PTUN).

According to news reports, Rio allegedly received gratifications or presents from Gatot and Evy for helping them to bend direction of court trials on the case about Social Aid (Bansos) in North Sumatera Administration.

The case in North Sumatera has been a hard blow for NasDem Party, since it hit two top party officials with one stone: Otto Cornelis Kaligis, Head of Party Council, and Patrice Rio Capella, Secretary General.

Corruption cases that implicate politicians is nothing new in Indonesia. Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) records during the last decade show that KPK had legally processed 82 national and regional representatives (DPR/DPRD) in a variety of corruption cases. That's 55 members of DPR and 27 members of DPRD. These records also revealed that the most common scheme used was bribery: 77 parliamentarians in the last decade.

In both cases this week, both political parties gave positive response and pledged harsh internal sanctions for their incriminated members. But would that be enough? In order to put serious effort in preventing political briberies from repeating perpetually, the authorities need to address a number of issues.

First and foremost, the government must seal down legislative corruption loopholes. There need to be a monitoring function on every pattern of budget proposals submitted in the parliament. They can learn from the e-budgeting system that was implemented at Jakarta Provincial Administration. In reality, there's no control over budget proposal in the legislative process.

Second, Jokowi's administration must begin to review the management system of Social Aid (Bansos) and grant funds. Aside from the law enforcement aspects, it is equally important to address the prevention aspects. The government should consider the proposal to eliminate Bansos allocation in national and regional budgets altogether, because the implementation procedures for Bansos distribution are too loose and uncontrolled. Furthermore, there's always a repeating trend of increase in Bansos fund distribution every time there's an election coming. Obviously, this is prone to corruption.

Third, Bansos corruption also have an extra dimension in court corruption, thus making it important to optimize monitoring functions over judges. The judicial system need to monitor the integrity of judges.***


  • After one year, President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla (Jokowi-JK) with their “Working Cabinet” are under-performing in terms of law enforcement and corruption eradication.

  • Implementation of anti-corruption education in schools and universities has become urgent, while the government need to administer a balanced implementation of law enforcement and prevention programs with a Government Decree (PP).

  • Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) gave poor grades (5 out of 10) in their assessment of the first year of Jokowi-JK administration.

  • Jokowi-JK are considering the second reshuffle of their cabinet. ICW expected the next rearrangement of ministerial position would no longer be based on political party support, but on the candidate's own capacity and competence.

  • The Procurement Policy Office (LKPP) is actively socializing three new regulations that regulate cooperation between government offices and business entities in development of infrastructures.


October 19

  • Commissioner Taufiqurrohman Syahuri of the Judicial Commission (KY) was questioned as witness in a case of defamation against him by South Jakarta District Court Judge, Sarpin Rizaldi.

  • South Jakarta Corruption Court held preliminary trial on alleged corruption of rehabilitation management and transfer cooperation of State Water (PDAM) installation in Makassar on 2006-2012.

  • Former Regent of Bangkalan Fuad Amin Imron was sentenced with 8 years incarceration and a file of Rp 1 billion for bribery of PT Media Karya Sentosa and money laundering.

October 20

  • Bribery mediator for former Secretary General of National Democrat (NasDem) Party Rio Capella, Fransisca Insani Rahesti, was questioned as witness by investigators at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

  • Former Director of Refining at PT Pertamina Suroso Atmomartoyo was sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of Rp 200 million or equal to another six months incarceration for bribery in procurement of Tetra-ethyl Lead (TEL) at Pertamina in 2004-2005.

  • Former Sec Gen of Partai NasDem Patrice Rio Capella filed for pre-trial to challenge KPK for naming him as suspect.

October 21

  • KPK arrested a member of the House of Representatives (DPR) from the People's Conscience Party (Hanura) Dewi Yasin Limpo red-handed in a sting operation (OTT) at Soekarno-Hatta Airport.

  • KPK questioned Yulius Irwansyah, a lawyer who had worked for OC Kaligis, the suspect for bribery in Medan Administration Court, as witness in the alleged gratification involving former Sec Gen of NasDem, Patrice Rio Capella.

October 22

  • KPK named a member of the Energy Commission in DPR, Dewie Yasin Limpo, as a suspect for receiving bribery related to construction of a micro-hydro power plant in Deiyai Regent, Papua.

  • Surakarta State Attorney General terminated investigation on the alleged corruption of grant fund at Surakarta Municipality Administration in 2013. State AG argued that the state loss in this case was too small.

  • Subang State Attorney General examined five top officials at the local regent administration for alleged involvement in corruption of Social Aid (Bansos) in the Naval and Fishery Office worth Rp 2.9 billion in 2014.

  • The pre-trial appeal filed by Dasep Ahmadi, Director of PT Sarimas Ahmadi Pratama, who is a corruption suspect in procurement of electric cars at three state-owned companies (BUMN), is likely to come to nothing

October 23

  • Non-active Governor of North Sumatera Gatot Pujo Nugroho sees the subpoena from Attorney General Office for two of his staffs as a politicking move as the letters described himself as a suspect of corruption.

  • Former Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Muhaimin Iskandar was questioned by KPK investigator in an alleged extortion in the Directorate of Transmigration Area Development Management at his ministry.

  • Investigators from Provincial Attorney General of East Nusa Tenggara (Kejari NTT) arrested Berman Banjar Nahor, a fugitive in the alleged corruption of Alor and Kalabahi Ports construction projects in Depok, West Java.


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