Sabotage of KPK power 'systematic'

The entire deliberation process of the anticorruption court bill shows a "systematic" effort to end the war on graft by weakening the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), a lawmaker said. As of Wednesday, nine out of 10 factions at the House of Representatives were still lobbying the government to end the KPK's authority to prosecute. They want to limit such authority to those under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). The representative of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) on the working committee deliberating the bill called for “extraordinary efforts” to salvage the antigraft body and the corruption eradication movement from vested interests. “The move is part of a systematic attempt not only to kill the antigraft body but mainly to weaken the ongoing war on corruption that has been categorized as an extraordinary crime in the country,” Nasir Djamil told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. The PKS is the only faction now standing behind the government wanting to maintain the KPK’s prosecution mandate. Nursyahbani Katjasungkana of the National Awakening Party (PKB) said factions had put forward during lobbying time on Monday night an increasing number of proposals to give the prosecution authority back to the AGO. The noted lawyer said she personally shared the government’s wish to maintain the antigraft body’s prosecution and wire-tapping authority. Reliable sources at the committee said most factions were determined to revise the 2001 anticorruption law to give the prosecution mandate back to government prosecutors and take back the antigraft body’s wire-tapping authority. Previously, the House, which initially showed reluctance to deliberate the bill, bowed down to public pressure to put it back on the table. However the deliberation has raised criticism that these manoeuvres were designed to weaken the KPK. All factions and the government unanimously agreed to gradually decentralize the anticorruption court to 33 provinces and more than 450 regencies and municipalities, in effect hiding the body from public view. The committee and the government also agreed to give more seats to career judges despite the public’s distrust of the judiciary. A researcher for the Consortium for National Legal Reform (KRHN), Wahyudi Djafar, deemed the factions’ reasoning to take back KPK’s investigative and wire-tapping authority as illogical and groundless as the KPK has been considered effective in bringing corruptors to justice. “The factions' argument is that the authority to prosecute also belongs to the government prosecutors in other developed countries,” Wahyudi said. “But they forget that corruption in Indonesia has become an extraordinary crime and the antigraft body needs the authority to prosecute to effectively end corruption,” he said. Wahyudi also said the bill mandating the establishment of anticorruption courts in 33 provinces within one year was quite contentious, because it would be financially impossible for the government to do so.

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