Thu, 18 Dec 2003

Anticorruption chief to target law enforcement institutions

Muninggar Sri Saraswati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Newly elected chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Taufieqqurrochman Ruki vowed on Wednesday to develop the commission into a credible institution to lead the country in eradicating endemic corruption.

Once the organization is established, KPK would focus on corruption eradication in the civil service, law enforcement institutions and the private sector, he said.

Ruki said the three areas were most the prone to corruption practices that could inflict great losses to the state.

"I am also focussing on corruption eradication in law enforcement institutions because it would be impossible to clean a dirty floor with a dirty broom," Ruki told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

KPK, he said, would examine high profile corruption cases currently in the hands of police and prosecutors before deciding whether or not to take over the investigation and prosecution from the two institutions.

"We can examine and take over (investigation into corruption cases). But, we must be sure that we have better capability," Ruki said.

He promised that KPK would maintain accountability by being transparent to the public. He said the commission would report the development of each investigation every three months to the President, the House of Representatives, universities, non- governmental institutions as well as those who needed it.

Ruki also promised that the five KPK leaders, including himself, would not cover for the mistakes of their colleagues should they be involved in bribery or collusion.

"The KPK leadership must be clean and trustworthy. If one of us fails to fulfill the requirement, he must resign. The House must select another one," he said.

The first six months after its establishment, which is scheduled for Dec. 27, would be spent to develop the KPK organization, Ruki said.

Ruki promised that the recruitment of KPK personnel would be transparent in a bid to get personnel with integrity. Ruki also planned to make the KPK "a not-too-big organization because we need to work fast".

For the same reason, Ruki did not expect the KPK to establish branches in provinces despite its authority to eradicate corruption across the country.

On Wednesday, criticism continued of the newly elected KPK executive body.

Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Amien Rais and former president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur' Wahid expressed pessimism whether KPK could lead the country in its move to eradicate corruption.

"KPK cannot do anything without the commitment of the government to eradicate corruption," Amien was quoted by Antara as saying in Surabaya.

Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Jusuf Kalla and Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Commission Albert Hasibuan and Chairman of the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) Teten Masduki questioned the House's decision not to elect several candidates known for their integrity such as prosecutor M. Yamin and former cabinet minister and attorney general Marsillam Simanjuntak.

"The House, particularly Commission II, has failed to put aside their political interests in choosing the KPK's leaders," Albert said.

The establishment of the KPK is expected to help the country combat widespread corruption. It has the authority to investigate and prosecute corruption cases -- previously the domain of the police and the prosecutors' office -- particularly cases involving the state apparatus and cases that have caused state losses amounting to a minimum of Rp 1 billion.