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INDONESIA: CORRUPTION ERADICATION COMMISSION (KPK) IN TURMOIL. QUO VADIS (KPK)?

Updated: Dec 6, 2023


Jakarta

On the evening of November 22, 2023, the Indonesian National Police of the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Region (Polda Metro Jaya) convened a press conference just before midnight. They made a significant announcement: Firli Bahuri, the Chair of the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi, or KPK), and a retired Police Commissioner General, had been suspected of extortion. This case involved the former Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo (SYL), who is also a prominent political figure and had been under investigation by the KPK for corruption charges [1]. Specifically, Firli Bahuri is accused of extorting money from Syahrul Yasin Limpo, and Indonesian authorities confiscated transaction documents amounting to $477,730 [2]. This paradoxical situation marks the lowest point of KPK’s integrity in the public eye. Quo vadis, KPK?


As for evidence, a spokesperson for Polda Metro Jaya mentioned that the investigators have seized several items, such as:

  • forex documents in SGD and USD from several money changers with a total value of IDR7,468,711,500 from February 2021 to September 2023;

  • copies of documents of the Chair of KPK related to the investigation of KPK conducted on SYL, including minutes of search, confiscation, safekeeping of found evidence, and confiscation receipts at the official residence of the Minister of Agriculture dated April 28, 2021;

  • clothes, shoes, and pins that are worn by SYL during his meeting with Bahuri at Tangki Sports Arena on March 2, 2022;

  • one unit of external hard disk or SSD which contains electronic evidence from KPK's investigations;

  • four units of flash disk;

  • 21 units of mobile phones of potential witnesses;

  • 17 email accounts;

  • two cars; and

  • three e-money cards.

Investigation on Bahuri was triggered by a public complaint report received by Polda Metro Jaya on August 12, 2023, stating Bahuri has abused his power as the Chair of KPK in handling the case of corruption in the Ministry of Agriculture and allegedly blackmailing SYL. The fact that Polda Metro Jaya is led by Police Inspector General Karyoto who was a former subordinate of Bahuri in KPK grabbed public attention on the level of integrity in both law enforcement agencies. Karyoto was known to be dismissed by Bahuri in November 2022 from his position as KPK’s Deputy of Enforcement and Execution for a feud with Bahuri over an alleged corruption case in Formula E Jakarta.

Bahuri was also reported to the KPK Supervisory Board for violation of ethical conduct with evidence of photograph of his meeting in a badminton court with SYL on March 2, 2022, as it was unlawful for any KPK leaders to meet people who were in litigation process; however, Bahuri insisted that the meeting with SYL was not initiated by him and it took place in a public area when SYL was not parties in the investigation handling by KPK [3]. In the same press conference at 16:48 (timestamp), Bahuri also denied the allegation of receiving USD 1 billion from anyone.


Earlier this year, several former KPK leaders officially reported Bahuri’s alleged violation of the code of ethics to the KPK Supervisory Body for leaking confidential documents concerning investigations conducted by KPK on a corruption case in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. Nonetheless, the Board did not proceed to an ethical hearing for insufficient evidence. As a result, in June, the Indonesian Supervision, Assistance, and Law Enforcement Board (Lembaga Pengawasan, Pengawalan, dan Penegakan Hukum Indonesia or LP3HI) also reported Bahuri to Polda Metro Jaya with an allegation of leaking confidential documents concerning investigations conducted by KPK on the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources but the investigation is still ongoing.


In a press conference held by KPK on November 20, 2023, Bahuri claimed that the accusation against him was a resistance to KPK and a strike back from corruptors [4]. As a response to the status as a suspect in the case of extortion of SYL, Bahuri fought back and filed a pre-trial lawsuit at the South Jakarta District Court which scheduled the first hearing on December 11, 2023. The public awaits the court decision as the integrity of both law enforcement agencies is at stake.

[1] Kompas.com (November 23, 2023). Firli Bahuri Tersangka, Polisi Sita Dokumen Valas Senilai Rp 7,4 Miliar. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK4pMUgCK3s [2] Ruth Comerford (November 24, 2023). Indonesia anti-corruption chief Firli Bahuri suspected of extortion. BBC. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-67509472 [3] KPK RI (October 5, 2023). [PENINDAKAN] KONFERENSI PERS PENAHANAN TERSANGKA DUGAAN TPK DI PEMERINTAH KOTA BIMA, NTB. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_josu2YJL4 [4] KPK RI (2023, November 20). KONFERENSI PERS PENJELASAN KETUA KPK RI. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuD2dM5Kx2U



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