Circling on Golkar
Golkar’s involvement in the Riau-1 PLTU bribery scandal is increasingly evident by the day. The political party should be prosecuted for corporate crime.
Once it has bagged sufficient evidence, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) should waste no time in naming Golkar as suspect in the Riau-1 power plant graft case. This will be a precedent as the first ever criminal case against a political party in the history of the anti-corruption movement in this country.
Evidence against the banyan party continues to mount as the candid testimony of Eni Maulani Sargih, the Golkar politician who is also the deputy-chair of the House of Representatives’ (DPR) energy commission, shed more light on the party’s role in the fraudulent power project.
Eni was arrested in mid-July for taking Rp500 million from businessman Johannes Budisutrisno Kotjo. During the interrogation by the KPK, Eni sang like a bird and disclosed the involvement of Golkar Party chief Airlangga Hartarto, the chairman of the Golkar faction at the DPR, Melchias Marcus Mekeng and former Golkar boss Setya Novanto. She claimed that the money she received was part of the commitment fee from the project to her party.
Eni also revealed that Golkar elites had frequent meetings with Johannes Kotjo to discuss kickbacks even saying that the instruction to collect the bribe came from Setya Novanto himself when he was still at Golkar’s helm.
Her confession points to the existence of structural political corruption within the Golkar party which actually is sufficient for the KPK to charge the party as an institution with corporate crimes. Moreover, Supreme Court Decree No. 13/2016 on guidelines for handling crimes by corporations defines corporation as a collection of organized people and/or assets, whether or not it is a legal entity.
The party’s position is also aggravated by at least two factors. First, there is a compelling evidence that Golkar as an institution enjoyed kickbacks from Johannes Kotjo. The KPK has reportedly found the money trail amounting to Rp700 million from Johannes to the organizing committee of the 2017 extraordinary national congress.
Second, Golkar itself appears to have let corruption thrive in its institution as one of its many fundraising strategies. Such an indication is one of the defining factors in determining suspect status in corporate crimes. A litany of corruption scandals that has dogged the party throughout the past 20 years—from the Bulog import scheme to the electronic ID card cases—signified the party’s reluctance to clean its own house.
Naming the party suspect could serve as a shock therapy as well as an impetus to ‘rid’ our democracy of filthy and deplorable practices. Unsavory stories of regional head candidates having to bribe political parties to be nominated or businesses having to bribe lawmakers to secure projects or even legislators having their pay cut for the interest of their parties should be the things of the past.
It is high time political parties put their houses in order. It is time they abandoned corrupt behavior that has become the norm for so long. Only then will they be able to restore the public trust and eventually increase citizen’s political participation. The KPK on the other hand must not fail to capitalize this momentum to create better Indonesia.