The Indonesian government should ensure the anti-corruption commission is free from political interference
Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation, and its chapter in Indonesia support the independent anti-corruption commission, known as the KPK, and call on the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo to publicly endorse the organisation’s independence and allow it to carry out its work free from political interference.
President Widodo delayed the appointment of his candidate for chief of police because of an on-going investigation by the KPK into corruption allegations. One week later the deputy head of the KPK, Bambang Wijayanto, was arrested by the police on charges relating to a case from 2010.
José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International, said: “It is obvious that the arrest of Mr. Wijayanto and the attacks on other members of the KPK is a reprisal for its defense of integrity in the appointment process of the chief of police. People are already on the streets supporting the KPK because they know it is a bastion against corruption in a country where corruption hurts ordinary people.
“The role of independent anti-corruption commissions is critical to fighting corruption and holding those in power to account. This has been proven in many countries in South East Asia where principled investigations by independent anti-corruption commissions have pursued senior political figures irrespective of their political party affiliations,” he added.
The KPK has been a shining example of this and has been able to demonstrate its impact by successfully catching high level officials and holding them accountable.
Natalia Soebagjo, chair of Transparency International Indonesia said: “We need the president to take action now to uphold the independence of the anti-corruption commission and allow it to carry out its important work under the Jakarta Principles.”
In 2012 the KPK convened an important meeting of anti-corruption agencies and international law enforcement bodies from around the world to develop the Jakarta Principles, a declaration which highlighted the importance of integrity and independence of anti-corruption commissions in the fight against corruption.
Indonesia is also a signatory of the United Nations Convention against Corruption which states in Article 6.2 that “Each State Party shall grant the body or bodies referred to in paragraph 1 of this article the necessary independence, in accordance with the fundamental principles of its legal system, to enable the body or bodies to carry out its or their functions effectively and free from any undue influence.”
Transparency International Indonesia, with a coalition of civil society organisations, is calling on the President to uphold these international commitments under the convention and publicly support the KPK and denounce the arrest of Wijayanto.
President Widodo ran on a platform of anti-corruption and strong leadership and a steadfast will is urgently needed in this case to safeguard anti-corruption efforts in the country and ensure that no institution or entity can act with impunity nor attempt to influence or impede the work of the KPK.
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Ilham B Saenong
Transparency International Indonesia