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President of Indonesia urged to reject revision of Corruption Eradication Commission Law

The independence of Indonesia’s main anti-corruption body, the Corruption Eradication Commission, is at risk as the Indonesian Government seeks to change laws governing its mandate.

The House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia is to discuss the revision of a law governing the running of the country’s main anti-corruption body. If approved by the government, the revision could jeopardize the independence of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), and undermine the fight against corruption, Transparency International and its national chapter, Transparency International Indonesia, said today.

The proposed formulation of the bill significantly reduces the authority of the KPK and demonstrates continuous efforts by legislators to systematically weaken the institution.

The KPK has been an effective anti-corruption organization, and a leader in the region, thanks to support from the highest political levels. But trust in anti-corruption efforts can only be maintained with a strong and independent KPK operating in accordance with the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention (UNCAC) and the Jakarta Principles.

“Attempts to weaken the independence and authority of the KPK have serious potential to undermine its commendable anti-corruption efforts in recent years. Indonesia has languished in the bottom third of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for several years. The Government should be making greater efforts to tackle corruption and not do anything that might undermine them”, said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International.

Article 6 of the UNCAC states that anti-corruption agencies must be able to function independently and free of conflicts of interest, as well as with adequate material, staff and training resources. Similarly, the Jakarta Principles on Anti-Corruption encourage the state to protect the independence of anti-corruption institutions. The selection of new Commissioners should follow due process and involve civil society, following the precedent set by the President in 2015.

To ensure rule of law and sustainable anti-corruption efforts, of which the KPK is a vital pillar, Transparency International urges the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, to reject the discussion of the revision of the KPK law by not sending a presidential letter. Furthermore, the House of Representatives should withdraw the agreed revision.

“The President must not ignore this KPK Law revision initiative and must act as the foremost guardian of its independence. Reducing the authority of the KPK is counterproductive to improving the current state of corruption in Indonesia,” Dadang Trisasongko, Secretary General of TI Indonesia said.

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