Anti-Corruption Weekly Digest: Febuary 18-24, 2016

Moot point on KPK Law revision

Eventually, President Joko Widodo and Parliament leaders reached an agreement to postpone the revision of the Law on Corruption Eradication Commission or KPK. Despite this arrangement, the public saw this postponement as an inconclusive compromise to refrain from firmly retracting the revision from the Parliament’s 2016 National Legislative Program (Prolegnas). This move sweeps controversy under the rug only to return flaming later on.

During the last few years, attempts to impair KPK are becoming massive. Aside from criminal lawsuits against KPK commissioners and investigators, its detractors also attempted institutional challenge by trying to cut off the anti-graft body’s authorities using the revision of Law No 30/2002 about KPK.

Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Board (Baleg) at DPR, the House of Representatives, Firman Subagyo, maintained that the points for revision was not intended to impair KPK. He insisted DPR and the executive should not be intervened when performing their mandate to enact Laws.

However, the public perceive this revision as another attempt by the Parliament to undermine KPK, since any one of the four primary articles to be revised – about the new Supervisory Board, Wiretapping, Termination of Investigation (SP3) and Recruitment of Investigators – would substantially diminish the authority and performance of KPK in handling corruption cases.

More importantly, until today the proponents of revision have never produced any academic paper for the proposal, whereas this would be a compulsory requirement for the procedure. This fact alone warrant a legitimate public skepticism over the Parliament necessary to prevent any motive to impair KPK– an institution highly regarded as the true offspring of the reform movement.

Even after the postponement, vigorous defiance against the revision continue to come in waves from various regions and layers of society, including professors, inter-religion figures, artists and many other anti-corruption proponents.

Although the previous wave of public rejection managed to push President Jokowi and DPR leaders to postpone deliberation of the revision, the public still expect Jokowi to take a stronger stance together with his supporting parties at the Parliament to cross out the revision altogether from DPR’s 2016 legislation program.

The people called on Jokowi to take an equivalent step as did his predecessor President SBY when he put an end to a past KPK Law revision polemic back in 2012. At the time, SBY chose to advance corruption eradication efforts rather than wasting energy on the revision. Evidently, a strong stance by the President effectively subdued the controversial attempt to revise KPK Law.***

 

Regulating Asset Forfeiture

The recent wave of public pressure to reject revision of the Law on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had finally come to fruition. Although President Joko Widodo came short of utterly revoking the revision proposal from Parliament’s 2016 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas), at least deliberation of the revision is temporarily postponed. In place of KPK Law revision, the House of Representatives or DPR is now called to immediately pass the Bill on Asset Forfeiture.

While pressing to challenge KPK Law revision, the public believe that it would cripple the national corruption eradication agenda. This was voiced not only by civil society groups like ICW, the Indonesia Corruption Watch, but also by a group of professors united in the Professors Forum Against KPK Law Revision. Likewise, legions of national musicians such as Marjinal, Efek Rumah Kaca and Slank expressed similar sentiments. To emphasize their rejection, the artists even held concerts at the front yard of KPK.

Following the sentiment against KPK Law revision, the executive and legislative are now being called to observe a more pressing issue: deliberation of the Bill on Asset Forfeiture. It is being argued that revision of KPK Law is not the way to genuinely reinforce the corruption eradication agenda. The government should focus on a more integrated advancement on a number of regulations related to corruption eradication exertions.

According to the Bill, forfeiture is defined as a forcible takeover attempt over a property or any obtained wealth or profit that may be procured by someone in a criminal act, either in domestic or foreign location. In a more global perspective, the Bill on Asset Forfeiture would be strongly associated with the norm of illicit enrichment (illegally obtained assets) – which is yet to be regulated in Indonesia’s Law on Corruption.

Within this norm, the authority can monitor government officials with suspicious increase of wealth. This Bill was in fact proposed since the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Regrettably, its deliberation stalled and the process abandoned in the hands of DPR.

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If studied carefully, an enforced Law on Asset Forfeiture would undeniably benefit future corruption eradication agenda. First of all, this regulation would seal a loophole in the Law on Corruption where forfeiture could only apply on assets used or obtained from corruption, as regulated more clearly in Article 18 letter (a).

Second, indemnity of state loss as regulated in Law on Corruption is limited on enjoyed proceeds of crime. Ergo, recapture of state loss are often much less than the actual state loss as proven in court. For instance, the forestry sector corruption that nailed Teuku Azmun Jafar was proven in court to have caused a state loss of Rp 1.2 trillion, yet he was only ordered to return Rp. 19.83 billion to the state. In short, this Law would facilitate the pursuit of more massive state losses.

Third, confiscation of assets and indemnity covered from perpetrator’s assets as regulated could only be enforced after the corruption postulation is proven in court, leaving them liable for concealment. With this Law, asset forfeiture can be enforced immediately without waiting for a sentence.

And fourth, if asset forfeiture is regulated in a Law, it will facilitate attempts on asset recovery involving international cooperation, since many countries have already regulated asset forfeiture and illicit enrichment.

If the Government and the Parliament genuinely intended to strengthen KPK and the national corruption eradication agenda, they should promptly deliberate and pass the Law on Asset Forfeiture because, ideally, the Law on Corruption, Law on Money Laundering and Law on Asset Forfeiture should be enforced to complement each other.***

 

WEEKLY SUMMARY

 

STATUS UPDATES

February 18

  • KPK questioned Director of Citizen Administration Information Management at the Citizenship General Directorate of the Interior Ministry, Sugiharto, as a suspect in an alleged procurement corruption of electronic ID card implementation package.

February 19

  • Two legislators from Commission V of DPR bailed out on their KPK questioning as witnesses in an alleged bribery for a Maluku infrastructure project that implicated Abdul Khoir, Director of PT Windhu Tunggal Utama, as suspect.

February 22

  • The Attorney General Office (AGO) officially ceases prosecution against KPK investigator Novel Baswedan, citing insufficient evidence and case expiry as the reason.

  • KPK questioned the General Director of Public Courts at the Supreme Court (MA) Herry Swantoro, Director of Case Regulation and Management of MA Wahyudin, and Director of Civil Case Regulation and Management, Ingan Malem Sitepu, as witnesses in the alleged corruption in gratification to engineer issuing of a supreme review verdict of a corruption case at MA that implicated Andri Tristianto Sutrisna as suspect.

February 23

  • KPK questioned Governor of South Sumatera Alex Noerdin in an alleged corruption of the athletes’ compound construction in his province.

  • KPK investigators questioned the Senior Manager of Infrastructures at PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) II, Hariyadi Budi Kuncoro, as witness in the alleged procurement corruption of three units of quay container cranes that was charged against the CEO of Pelindo II, Richard Joost Lino.

  • The State Court of Indragiri Hulu presented 12 witnesses in a trial of the 2011-2013 local budget corruption with state loss up to Rp 2.7b that was charged against the former Regent Secretary, Erisman.

  • The State Court of South Jakarta set a pre-trial in BLBI case.

  • Prosecutors from the State Attorney General of Sidoarjo in East Java ultimately summoned three employees from the local Delta Tirta State Water (PDAM) in an alleged corruption of 10,000 home piping procurement in 2015 worth Rp. 8.9b.

February 24

  • Director of PT Sarimas Ahmadi Pratama, Dasep Ahmadi, a suspect in a case about procurement of 16 electric cars for three State-Owned Companies during APEC 2013 in Bali, was charged with 12 years imprisonment and Rp 28b of recompensation.

  • Corruption crimes unit at Jakarta Metro Police named two suspects in the alleged corruption of social aid fund (bansos) worth Rp 15.8b for a 2014 procurement of school uniforms and shoes for all Elementary School (SD) students in Depok.

  • The State Corruption Court of Banjarmasin held a trial against Chief of Marine and Fishery Office of Kotabaru, Ir. Thalib, presenting four witnesses.

  • Detectives from Supiori Regency Police in Papua named three suspects in the alleged misappropriation of the 2015 disaster aid at the local State Disaster Management Office (BPBD) that amounted around Rp. 827m.

  • Chief of the Office of Trade and Industry in Medan, Syahrizal Arief, was charged with one year and six months in prison for corruption of the Kapuas Belawan market renovation and revitalization project which caused a state loss up to Rp. 200m.

 

Counter:
6

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