TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The police arrested him after he dropped his daughter off at the Nurul Fikri Elementary School in Depok, West Java, three weeks ago. He was handcuffed and asked to get into a police car, and driven to the National Police Headquarters in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta.
Since the Corruption Eradication Commission's (KPK) indictment of Police Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, Bambang Widjojanto knew he and other KPK leaders would be targeted. It was not long before he was proven right. He was charged with urging a witness to commit perjury during a trial over the contested results of local elections at West Kotawaringin, an area in Central Kalimantan, back in 2010.
This is an old case. Sugianto Sabran, who reported Bambang to the police, is a member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), who lost in the West Kotawaringin election dispute. Sugianto had reported the matter in 2010, and even then Bambang had been investigated by the Police Crime Investigation Division. For lack of evidence, however, the investigation was dropped. This is why today, Bambang is convinced that the re-activation of the case is nothing more than an excuse to criminalize him.
"This case was deliberately organized," Bambang told Tempo reporters Linda Trianita, Muhamad Rizki and Heru Triyono at the KPK Building last week. And he was right. Sugianto submitted his report on January 19 and four days later, the order to arrest Bambang was issued. Never had the police worked so fast on a case. He was publicly handcuffed like a terrorist, in front of his 20-year-old daughter, Izzad Nabila.
This interview took place following his second questioning by the police. "This is nothing. In Papua, I would be shot down immediately," said Bambang, recalling his days when he worked as director of the Legal Aid Foundation in Jayapura, Papua, in the 1980s.
How important is your arrest with regards to the current row over the nomination of Budi Gunawan as the next police chief?
It must be seen in a wider political context. Soon the simultaneous election of regional chiefs will take place. More than 200 local elections will take place, requiring big amounts of capital. The easiest way to get funds is by selling [rights] to natural resources.
What does that have to do with you?
The KPK has begun looking at [violations involving] the natural resources, so we are seen to be the [unwelcome] disrupter. If you can control the law enforcers, you can plunder as much as you want. You will be safe.
Are you saying all this is not just about Budi Gunawan's nomination?
That's just the kindling.
Reportedly, you told KPK Chairman Abraham Samad that you would be targeted for criminalization?
I told Abraham that the first targets would be us both. We tried simulating our predicament, jokingly asked ourselves the question: what if the police concocts some evidence? When it really happened, he was shocked. I believe that all this chaos has been scrupulously and very neatly choreographed.
Have you found the person behind it?
We have. I cannot tell you more than that.
Do you believe the charges of Hasto Kristiyanto, PDI-P secretary-general, who said that Abraham Samad used KPK for his political purposes?
I'm not acquainted with Hasto, but of course, I believe Abraham.
What has he said about this?
He said it was all untrue. If I were Hasto, I would show proof of his accusations.
Abraham Samad is accused of aiding PDI-P politician Emir Moeis, in a bribery case involving the construction of the Tarakan power plant, in order to gain support for his vice-presidential nomination.
We have investigated and found nothing wrong. [Regarding that case] the KPK sentenced him to five years in prison, while the other four prosecutors got four and a half years each. That's the maximum penalty.
You and the other KPK leaders are accused of using the KPK to attack your political foes. Is this true?
Prove it. People can bluff, but our internal system makes that unlikely.
What convinces you that your arrest and indictment are intended to criminalize you?
Go back to the beginning, on January 19 this year, when Sugianto Sabran filed a complaint against me. The very next day, an order is issued to investigate me. On January 22, an order for my arrest is issued. It's unbelievable that the police can work so fast.
You believe that all of it is a plot?
The process moved so quickly that many errors were found, like the wrong address of my house, where the arrest was to be made. (*)
Read the full interview in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine