Mochammad Jasin, deputy chair of Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency, during an interview inJakarta, yesterday
Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency is able to conduct its business as usual despite the suspension of its chief, who is a suspect in a murder investigation, a deputy chair of the agency said.
But the operations of the Corruption Eradication Commission, known as KPK, faced uncertainties if parliament did not approve soon a law to extend the life of a special corruption court, deputy chair Mochammad Jasin said in an interview.
KPK currently submits cases only to the corruption court, but the court’s mandate is due to expire in December and the current term of parliament ends in September leaving a narrowing window.
“(I am) a little pessimistic, hopefully members of parliament can still discuss it within these months,” said Jasin, who is one of four deputies running KPK after Antasari Azhar’s suspension.
Jasin said the four met President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last week to explain the problems KPK faced if the court closed. Yudhoyono has been praised for pressing hard on corruption and is seeking a second term in office in elections in July.
The corruption court, which has a 100 percent conviction record and is considered clean due to its use of ad hoc judges, is now threatened after the constitutional court said parliament should draw up a new law by December to give it a legal basis.
Jasin said if parliament failed to pass the law in time, Yudhoyono would have to issue a regulation to allow the court to continue its work. If this was not done, experts say the cases might have to be heard in regular courts, which can be more easily manipulated by corruption.
“Of course, it depends on the political will of the president, whether or not to continue the corruption eradication movement.”
The deputies had also urged the president to push ahead with reform of the country’s bloated bureaucracy, Jasin said, adding the process had only been “partially done”.
Under Yudhoyono, notoriously corrupt agencies such as the customs and tax offices have been cleaned up but graft remains rife in institutions such as the judiciary and police.
KPK has built up something of a “cult” status in Indonesia for arrests and conviction of top officials including members of parliament and central bankers, but it suffered a blow this month after its head was detained as a suspect in a murder case.
The case against KPK chair Azhar, who has denied any wrongdoing, has shocked and gripped Indonesia in equal measure.