Toothless Supervisory Council
Evaluation by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Supervisory Council fell on deaf ears. Further evidence that the revised KPK law is hampering corruption eradication program.
THE latest recommendations from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Supervisory Council are as effective as firing blank ammunition. Although a faint sound can be heard outside the KPK office building, there is virtually no effect. Unfortunately, the Supervisory Council cannot force the KPK leadership selected by President Joko Widodo to implement its recommendations.
The Supervisory Council conveyed the results of its quarterly evaluation in meetings with the KPK leadership on April 27 and May 6. The Council made 18 recommendations, some of them linked to the slackening in the prosecution of corruption cases since Firli Bahuri became leader of the KPK. For example, the Council questioned the tardiness of the hunt for Harun Masiku, a suspect in the alleged bribery related to the appointment of a member of the House of Representatives (DPR) from the ruling party: the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). The Supervisory Council also highlighted the stop-and-start nature of the hunt for Nurhadi, former secretary of the Supreme Court who is still a suspect in another bribery case.
It is regrettable that the Supervisory Council conveyed its recommendations to the KPK leadership in a closed meeting. As a result, the public is unable to see for themselves whether the KPK leadership implements the recommendations or not. And even more strangely, the Council asked the KPK Employees Association—which has been strident in its criticism of the leadership—to not discuss internal cases in public.
This stance of the Supervisory Council is not really surprising. This magazine has long warned that the decision by Jokowi to appoint ‘good people’ to it will come to nothing because the background to its establishment is a long way from the desire to strengthen the KPK. Established based on the revised KPK Law, the KPK Supervisory Council is a manifestation of the phobia felt by DPR politicians and executive officials towards the idea of an independent anti-corruption agency.
The revised law did not give the Supervisory Council the authority to push the KPK to work harder to battle corruption. If the KPK leadership is lethargic in uncovering corruption, the Council can do little. This happened for example when KPK investigators failed to search the office of PDI-P Secretary-General Hasto Kristiyanto in relation to the alleged bribery of Harun Masiku in January. Moreover, the Council could only nod its head when Firli Bahuri halted the investigation of 36 alleged corruption cases in February.
Because the establishment of the Supervisory Council was a mistake from the start, pinning any hopes on it is an exercise in futility. The final recommendations of the Supervisory Council were a meaningless sweetener. These secret recommendations will only serve to rub salt in the wounds of those who hope that the effort to eradicate corruption will continue.
However, the ‘good people’ in the Supervisory Council appointed by Jokowi could still save the day. They need to work hard to analyze the constraints imposed by the revised law. They should involve anti-corruption activists. The Supervisory Council should also publish their recommendations on how the KPK can improve its performance in the mass media. This way, the Council’s recommendations could be used to put pressure on the KPK so that it does not betray the public hopes invested in it.