TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) must not slacken its efforts to investigate the bribery scandal allegedly involving military personnel in the Maritime Security Agency. These senior officers, still on active service, should be tried in a joint court. It would be strange if they were tried in a military court, because the corruption damaged the interests of the public, not the military.
The suspected involvement of these officers was uncovered during a sting operation carried out by KPK investigators two weeks ago. In this operation, investigators seized Rp2 billion in cash believed to be a bribe from Melati Techinfo Indonesia, the winning company of a tender to supply satellite monitoring equipment worth Rp200 billion. This was only the down-payment to several officials in the non-ministerial body. The total bribe promised by the company was estimated to be 7.5 percent of the project value, or Rp15 billion.
The KPK has named Eko Susilo Hadi, deputy for legal information and cooperation at the Maritime Security Agency, Fahmi Darmawansyah, managing director of Melati Technofo Indonesia, and two of his staff, Hardy Stefanus and Muhammad Adami Okta, as suspects. But the officials who made the commitment for the procurement project were untouched by the KPK because they are active military personnel.
The KPK must show no hesitation in uncovering all the facts in this case because it is mandated by Law No. 30/2002 on the KPK. Article 42 of this law gives the KPK the authority to coordinate and control questioning, investigations and prosecution of alleged corruption carried out jointly by military personnel and civilians.
The Commission can establish an investigation team together with the Indonesian military (TNI) and prosecute cases in a joint court - the entire process from investigation to trial being handled by active military personnel and civilians jointly. This procedure, which has often been followed by military and civilian prosecutors, is clearly outlined in Articles 89-94 of the Criminal Procedures Code (KUHAP).
This joint investigation team would examine the facts and proposes which active military personnel will be tried in civil courts alongside civilian suspects, rather than in a military court. The reason is very clear: the alleged corruption was against the public interest, not the interests of the military. This type of joint trial was organized by the Attorney General and the TNI following the corruption case related to the procurement of Mi-17 helicopters that caused losses to the state totaling Rp29 billion.
If the TNI insists the case must be heard in a military court, there are a number of conditions. One is that the defense minister with the agreement of the justice and human rights minister decides that the case should be heard by a military court. Without this approval, the KPK should not hand the case over to the military court.
So far, cases of corruption within the TNI seem to have escaped legal action, or have simply been covered up. More than a few cases have ground to a halt because of lack of evidence. For example, this happened when the Attorney General's office and the TNI established a joint team to investigate alleged corruption involving senior TNI officers. The apparent involvement of these personnel must not be decided by a military court. If this happened, it would not only be strange, it would also make it more difficult for the KPK to uncover all the facts in this bribery scandal. (*)
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