Fri, 05 Dec 2003

Test fails to reveal KPK candidates' track records

Muninggar Sri Saraswati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The final test to select five members of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) executive body was off to a disappointing start on Thursday as it failed to dig into the candidates' track records.

After the interview of eight candidates, observers, who watched the entire question and answer session which lasted eight hours, said the 13 members of the KPK selection committee wasted the chance to recruit clean and reputable anticorruption officials.

One of the panel members, Sukamto, a high ranking official with the National Police, was absent as he is accompanying National Police Chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar on a visit to Beijing.

The selection committee featured big names in law such as Supreme Court Criminal Law Director Moegihardjo, Deputy Attorney General for Intelligence Basrief Arif, Ministry of Justice legislation director Abdulgani Abdullah, top lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis, and law professors Indriyanto Seno Adji, Andi Hamzah, Loebby Loeqman, Romli Atmasasmita and Harkristuti Harkrisnowo.

However, most of them focused their questions on normative aspects, such as commitment, leadership, managerial skills and strategies to combat corruption.

Teten Masduki, who leads Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), criticized the course of the test.

"The selection team were supposed to go for something tangible, in particular the candidates' track records or achievements in combating corruption," he told reporters.

Asep Rahmat Fajar of the Coalition of Judiciary Observers concurred, saying that the interviewers had failed to uncover the candidates track records.

"They did not raise follow-up questions. They were not grilling the candidates," he said.

During the interview of Insp. Gen. (ret) Momo Kelana, a police officer turned member of the Public Servants Wealth Report Audit Commission (KPKPN), Harkristuti appeared content with his clarification over a report that accused him of giving false report of his wealth.

According to the report, Harkristuti said, Momo has property and other wealth worth Rp 2.3 billion but he only cited Rp 600 million.

Harkristuti was silent when Momo answered that he had submitted his wealth report to KPKPN and that he was preparing a new one.

Other candidates undergoing the test were prosecutor M. Yamin and F.X. Herry Sumanta, lawyer-cum-activist Iskandar Sonhadji, KPKPN member Chairul Imam and state auditor S. Rasul.

Both Teten and Asep said only two or three of the candidates grilled on Thursday were eligible to sit in the KPK executive body.

Romli, who heads the selection committee, said he was content with the course of the test.

Eight more candidates are expected to be interviewed on Friday.

The selection committee will make a shortlist of 10 candidates and submit them to the President on Saturday for approval.

The President will pass on the names to the House of Representatives, who will announce the final five members of KPK executive body on Dec. 12.

There were over 100 people registered with the selection committee, which began the selection process in October. Candidates have undergone administrative tests, written an essay on their vision and mission and taken a psychological test to qualify for the final test.