The track record of candidates for the position of Indonesia’s national police chief should not be suspicious. As the leader of law enforcers, the police chief should be squeaky clean. It is impossible for him to perform as a law enforcer if his own track record is problematic. Therefore, the inclusion of two out of nine candidates for the police chief position that have suspicious backgrounds should receive serious attention from the National Police Commission. The commission should not include those who have a record of misusing their authority.
The commission has submitted the names of these nine candidates to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which will verify their wealth. These are candidates favored to replace current National Police Chief General Timur Pradopo, who is set to retire in 2014. However, the president wishes to speed up the appointment of his replacement and hopes it will be finalized in the next two months. The problem is that two out of nine of these candidates are suspected of involvement in the "fat bank account" cases. They are high-ranking police officers with funds in their bank accounts that far exceed their official salary.
These two individuals are the national police’s education division chief Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan and assistant chief of operations Insp. Gen. Bardrodin Haiti. An edition of Tempo magazine in June 2010 reported that Budi and Badrodin owned suspicious "jumbo" accounts. In August 2008, Budi’s wealth amounted to Rp4.6 billion. Along with his child, he also opened an account and deposited Rp29 billion and Rp25 billion. As for Badrodin, by March 2004, he owned assets valued at Rp2 billion, an insurance policy for Rp1 billion, and accepted a transfer of Rp50 million per month.
Their wealth clearly does not represent their salaries as high-ranking police officials. Although this issue was debated in the media and the police were urged to conduct an internal investigation, the results of the investigation were disappointing. At that time, the police concluded there was nothing strange about their fat accounts. The police even rejected Indonesia Corruption Watch’s request to reveal the details of their accounts to the public.
This obscurity should be taken into account when selecting the candidates for the position of national police chief. Although these fat bank account cases have not been legally reviewed, the indications that these accounts were suspicious should be enough of a deterrent. The selection process must be tight and not only involve the competence and capability of the candidates in taking over the highest police position in the nation. It must also include the integrity of the individual and a clean track record.
Integrity is crucial because the police still have a huge debt to society, and need to win back the public’s trust. Aside from its various achievements in eradicating terrorism, the police have not succeeded in portraying itself as a clean and reformed institution.
This fat bank account case is just one example of how the police force has failed to clean itself up. The suspected corruption that cost the state billions in state losses in the driving simulator case, and involved a high-ranking police officer, also damaged their public image. Selecting a national police chief who is clean, has integrity and is professional is the first step that can be taken to restoring public trust. (*)