Friday, 10 August, 2012 | 10:25 WIB
When A Major Standoff Approaches
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The Indonesian Police’s insistence to investigate the corruption scandal involving the acquisition of a driving test simulator machine is odd. Top police officials should realize that the public have little faith in the seriousness of the police in investigating one of their generals suspected of corruption. The police investigation is potentially legally flawed because it contradicts the authority of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which has the greater right to investigate this case.
The police appears to be blocking the KPK’s moves, which can be categorized as an obstruction of justice. Last week, they held hostage for 20 hours, the evidence confiscated by the KPK, following a raid on the Police Traffic Division office in South Jakarta, even though the KPK investigators were armed with a court subpoena. The KPK had begun their investigation for some time, naming Police Inspector General Djoko Susilo, the former Traffic Division chief, presently governor of the Police Academy, as a suspect in the Rp 196.8 billion case.
The police said they needed that evidence, since they were investigating the same case. This is strange given no previous signs that they were conducting a serious investigation when the corruption case was first exposed by Tempo last April. In fact, at that time, the police even asked the magazine for the right to respond, denying Tempo’s cover story and stating that no corruption took place in the project.
The police finally allowed the evidence to be taken away by KPK investigators. However, the dispute between these two institutions did not die down, because a few days later the police announced it had identified the suspects involved in the driving simulator corruption case. Some of the suspects were the same as those being targeted by the KPK. The only difference was that the police did not name Djoko as a suspect.
It seems that a joint agreement was concluded by the police, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the KPK on March this year, and this was used as justification by the police. One point in the agreement stressed that the law enforcement agency which first investigated the case, was the one which had more right to handling it. The police claim they immediately began investigating the case after Tempo published its story on the project. The problem is that the KPK claims it began its investigation long before that.
The agreement, however, lacks substance, given the clauses in Law No.30 of 2002 on the KPK, which regulates matters of overlapping cases. The key has to do with the criminal investigation, not the initial investigation.
Article 50 of this law states that the KPK has more authority to handle corruption cases which are also being investigated by the police or the AGO. In fact, the police and the prosecutors must stop their involvement in cases which are being investigated by the KPK.
This law clearly authorizes the KPK to look into corruption cases which involve law enforcement agencies. The KPK was given this duty because corruption is always difficult for a law enforcement institution to handle by itself. It is difficult to imagine, for instance, that a serious police investigation will be carried out against one of its generals suspected of being involved in a corruption case. Yet in Indonesia, as in many other countires, corruption has spread among law enforcement officials.
The agreement the police refer to in order to justify their own investigation, has much less authority than a legislation. Moreover, the police have only begun questioning the ethics of the case. As example, they claim the KPK failed to inform the top police officials when it named Djoko a suspect.
An even greater risk is if the police refuse to submit their case. In addition to breaking the law, the police will also be charged with trying to cover up for one of its generals, and will refuse to give up its involvement in the case. The adamant stance of the police can also trigger a lengthy public debate, like the “Lizard (KPK) versus the Crocodile (police)” dispute, which took place a few years back. This term appeared when the KPK tried to investigate corruption charges involving a police general. The police counterattacked by charging one KPK official as suspect in a crime. ***