Jan 1, 2013

Indonesia - Zero tolerance for corrupt politicians: Indonesian anti-graft watchdog

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With more politicians potentially earning money from illicit sources ahead of the 2014 general elections, Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the country's anti-graft body, has renewed its pledge to take preventive measures against possible acts of corruption.

“We will never tolerate these political elites who try to rob the belongings of the people and the state,” KPK deputy chairman Busyro Muqoddas said yesterday.

“The bigger their desire to loot, the more we will intensify our preventive and repressive [prosecution] measures.”

On Friday, Indonesia Corruption Watch indicated there would be more political corruption in 2013 as political parties would be seeking financial resources for the 2014 general elections.

According to the corruption watchdog, political parties would mostly tap money from state budgets as a result of poor political party financial regulation and weak implementation.

Busyro emphasised political parties were the pillar of democracy that should serve to strengthen the system. “If, in fact, they take advantage of their authority and commit corrupt acts, they plough our democracy,” he said.

According to him, civil society groups needed to participate more in democracy building by pushing political parties to perform well. “Civil society must be critical. It can take legal measures by requesting the Constitutional Court to disband political parties [that condone graft practices],” he said.

Responding to possibilities that political parties will try to intervene in graft cases implicating their cadres, KPK spokesperson Johan Budi said that his office could not intervene, saying that it refused to meddle in politics.

“Keep in mind, the KPK investigates persons allegedly involved in graft cases. We prosecute them as individuals, not as political parties’ officials,” he said.

Yet, he admitted that 2013, the year prior to the country’s general elections, would “likely give the commission extra pressure.”

“In handling graft cases connected to politicians, the KPK is often pulled into the political sphere by these parties, as well as outsiders,” he added. “Then come the allegations that the KPK is biased or that we only handle certain cases. There were even accusations that the KPK took several cases hostage.”

He said that the commission was still digging deeper into cases it was handling, including the one involving Democratic Party member and former youth and sports minister Andi Mallarangeng.

He added, however, that his office had not yet scheduled to detain Andi — now a suspect — neither to summon him for his first questioning session.

Separately, political analyst Yudi Latif said members of the ruling coalition would try to maintain distance from the Democratic Party, which has had several cadres named suspects in graft scandals.

“They will start building a gap with the Democratic Party because they don’t want the public to consider them as corrupt as the party,” he said.

 To retain their clean image, Yudi said, political parties would also try to blame the Democratic Party for some of major alleged corruption issues in the government including the 2008 Bank Century bailout.

Ina Parlina

The Jakarta Post

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