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Taufiequrachman Ruki: I'm Nobody's Frontman  
Taufiequrachman Ruki, Acting Chief of Corruption Eradication Commission. TEMPO/Subekti.
Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 | 16:00 WIB
Taufiequrachman Ruki: I'm Nobody's Frontman  

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The public reacted strongly when the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) transferred the case of Police Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan to the Attorney General's Office. It prompted the KPK's own staff members to demonstrate, demanding the new KPK leadership explain its policy on corruption eradication. This was the first time in the organization's history that an internal protest of the kind was held within its own walls.

The submission of the Budi Gunawan case was seen as an act of blatant disregard towards public aspirations. The sentiment was for the KPK to appeal for a judicial review of the pre-trial verdict by the South Jakarta District Court. People had hoped that a judicial review would prompt the Supreme Court to annul the verdict, allowing the KPK to still nab Gunawan for the crime he was originally accused of.

This public dissatisfaction now seems to be directed at Taufiequrachman Ruki, who was appointed by President Joko Widodo as KPK acting chair on February 20. It seemed to confirm the inappropriateness of Ruki's appointment, which some say will lead to certain weakening of the KPK. Others say Ruki's appointment was at the behest of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairperson, Megawati Soekarnoputri. It will not be easy for Ruki to rid himself of these impressions.

On why the KPK did not appeal for a judicial review, his reply was that it never meant the case was being set aside. He claimed that he has ordered KPK lawyers to prepare a case. "Just in case a judicial review must be submitted, we will be ready. This the public does not see," Ruki said ruefully in an interview with Tempo last week. At the interview he was accompanied by KPK Commissioner Johan Budi Sapto Prabowo. "The KPK is not a one-man show, that's why I'm being accompanied by Pak Johan," said Ruki. The scheduled one hour with Tempo reporters Heru Triyono, Rusman Paraqbueq and Rizki Gaga, stretched to accomodate an additional 30 minutes. Excerpts:

Why was the Budi Gunawan bribery case given over to the Attorney General's Office (AGO)?

It has been a long process and the decision was not made by us (the KPK's three new leaders). After the pre-trial verdict on the case, the option to transfer it was discussed by the previous leadership (the pre-trial verdict was announced on February 16). This option emerged because the South Jakarta District Court rejected the application for an appeal.


When was it discussed by the previous leadership?

One day after the pre-trial verdict was announced. Many options were discussed. One of them was to transfer the Budi Gunawan case to the prosecutors. But the discussion involved only a few people.


Has the KPK ever ceded a case to another law enforcement agency?

In the past, arrests used to be done by the AGO. I forget exactly, but I am certain we had investigated someone who was not a public servant nor a law enforcer. That's why it was transferred.


Was there a difference of opinion among the KPK leaders on the Budi Gunawan case being transferred?

Of course, but I cannot disclose the details. The discussion was held between the three new leaders and the two permanent ones. So it was not my sole decision.


Was there a barter or exchange of cases?

What barter? No such thing. The fact is that the Abraham Samad and Bambang Widjojanto cases have continued on. On the Novel Baswedan (a KPK investigator) case and his weapons charge, I asked that it be reviewed, including charges of misuse of authority by the three KPK directors. But there was no talk of a barter. I wanted those cases to be deferred, so as not to complicate matters.


Were you able to do that? After your meeting with Police Chief Badrodin Haiti and Crime Investigation Chief Budi Waseso, the KPK staff were summoned by the police.

That's why, when seeking a solution, it shouldn't be just the KPK giving in, the police must do the same. That's what I told them (the police). We were told to back down, but the police were still placing their horses. That's why there's no end. I sent an official letter to the police chief, requesting that the investigation on the KPK be deferred.


Did the police summons of the KPK staff upset operations and cause anxiety?

It wasn't just the staff who were upset, the whole institution was, too.


How do you expect to solve 36 KPK cases in 10 months?

Let's be honest, our investigators are overburdened. Even if we had help from the police headquarters, I doubt we can complete all the pending cases. The KPK has a limited number of investigators. This is hard work, but I am determined to do one thing: Not to leave too much work behind for the next leaders.


So, you do have a target. Like resolving the two remaining big cases: Bank Century and the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Assistance (BLBI) program?

I never said that. Please. The priority is to resolve cases at the investigation level. Secondly, to carry out internal consolidation. Thirdly, to maintain communications with the other law enforcement agencies. (*)


Read the complete interview in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine

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