Fri, 12 Dec 2003

Corruption allegations taint KPK selection

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Undeterred by public allegations of collusion and bribery with regard to none other than the candidates for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the House of Representatives decided on Thursday that its members would soon meet the 10 shortlisted KPK candidates.

Chairman of the House Commission II for legal and home affairs, A. Teras Narang, revealed that five teams consisting of three legislators each, had been established to investigate candidates for the anti-graft body.

The 10 finalists are Mohammad Yamin, Marsilam Simandjuntak, Chairul Imam, Taufiequrachman Ruki, Tumpak H. Panggabean, Momo Kelana, Iskandar Sonhadji, Sjahruddin Rasul, Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas and Amien Sunaryadi.

"The legislators will visit the homes of the candidates in their investigation, which will include a probe into their personal wealth, on Friday and Saturday," Teras Narang of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) told reporters.

He claimed that the results of the investigation teams would be used as consideration in the final screening stage at the House on Monday and Tuesday.

Commission II members will select the final five candidates and choose the chairperson with a vote on Tuesday.

The 10 KPK hopefuls met last week with President Megawati Soekarnoputri, who apparently approved of them all and sent the list back to the House. The month-long selection process is in now in its final stages.

Many observers fear that at least two driven anticorruption figures among the 10 candidates, such as former attorney general Marsilam Simandjuntak and a member of Transparency International Indonesia Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas, would be dropped from the list by the legislators, because they have a reputation for exposing corrupt government officials.

Most of the 10 candidates are former bureaucrats or career prosecutors whose integrity has been questioned since the beginning of the selection process.

Meanwhile, deputy chairman of the House Commission II Ferry Mursyidan Baldan denied that there was collusion between legislators and KPK candidates.

"The members of these investigation teams are officially appointed. It will prevent certain legislators from secretly approaching the candidates (to ask for bribes)," Ferry of the Golkar Party told reporters.

However, he admitted that members of the investigation teams were proposed by each political party.

He said the members of the teams could not choose the candidate to be interviewed, which was an effort to prevent collusion between them.

"But, anything could still happen. For instance, a legislator's friend could covertly slip a candidate a bank account number (for money to be transferred into said account) as a way for the candidates to bribe the legislators to influence a vote in favor of their candidacy," he admitted.