Corruption Eradication Commission (Indonesian: Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi), abbreviated as KPK, is an Indonesian government agency established to prevent and fight corruption in the country. Firli Bahuri, an active police general, is the current chairman of KPK. In 2013, the agency won the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
Anti-corruption efforts began in Indonesia in the 1950s. Following strong criticism of corruption at the beginning of the New Order regime in the late 1960s a Commission of Four was appointed by president Soeharto in 1970. The report of the commission noted that corruption was "rampant" but none of the cases it said were in need of urgent action were followed up. Laws were only passed in 1999 giving the Police and prosecution service the authority to investigate corruption cases.
Law No.30/2002 on the Corruption Eradication Commission was passed in 2002 providing a legal basis for the establishment of the KPK. Since then, the commission has engaged in significant work revealing and prosecuting cases of corruption in crucial government bodies reaching as high as the Supreme Court.
The KPK vision is to free Indonesia from corruption. Its duties include investigating and prosecuting corruption cases and monitoring the governance of the state. It has the authority to request meetings and reports in the course of its investigations. It can also authorize wiretaps, impose travel bans, request financial information about suspects, freeze financial transactions and request the assistance of other law enforcement agencies. It also has the authority to detain suspects, including well-known figures, and frequently does so.
The work of the KPK is a source of continuing controversy in Indonesia. The commission is careful, but sometimes quite aggressive, in pursuing high-profile cases. For example, in reporting on the activities of the KPK, one foreign observer noted that the commission has "confronted head-on the endemic corruption that remains as a legacy of President Suharto’s 32-year-long kleptocracy. Since it started operating in late 2003, the commission has investigated, prosecuted and achieved a 100-percent conviction rate in 86 cases of bribery and graft related to government procurements and budgets." To display once more its resolve to crack down on graft suspects, the KPK named on 7 December 2012, both brothers of Indonesian socialite Rizal Mallarangeng, Indonesia's Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng and Fox Indonesia consultant Choel Mallarangeng suspects in a multimillion-dollar corruption case, in the latest scandal to hit the President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's ruling party ahead of Indonesia's 2014 Presidential election. Mallarangeng is the first minister to resign on graft allegations since the KPK began operating in 2003.
KPK public education division official Budiono Prakoso said in December 2008 that because of its limited manpower and resources, of some 16,200 cases reported to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), only a small number had been dealt with. A large number of the solid reports informed the KPK of alleged cases of corruption and misuse of budget funds by government agencies at national and regional levels. "The main problem is the political will of the government at regional and national levels. Political will remains low. Everything is still at a lip-service level," he said.
NGO activists often urge the KPK to be more aggressive in its work. For example, Bali Corruption Watch (BCW) head Putu Wirata Dwikora asked the KPK to investigate corruption cases in Bali. He lamented the commission's practice of handing over corruption cases in Bali to the local prosecutors office for further investigation. "The KPK should be directly involved in investigations to create a deterrent effect," Putu said.
On the other hand, the success of the KPK in using controversial tools like warrantless wiretaps, and its focus on high-level targets like "businessmen, bureaucrats, bankers, governors, diplomats, lawmakers, prosecutors, police officials and other previously untouchable members of Indonesian society", has led to something of a backlash. There have been reported attempts to undermine the commission in parliament.
Tensions between the government and KPK
During its course, KPK often sees a number of controversial efforts by People's Representative Council and other government institutions to weaken or disrupt the work of KPK. Leaders and prominent of figures of KPK have been repeatedly arrested for a disputable criminal case or receiving personal attacks.
KPK and the police friction
In the view of many Indonesian observers, the "gecko vs crocodile" dispute illustrated the tensions said to exist between the KPK and the Indonesian National Police. Some high-profile investigations carried out by the KPK have focused on allegations of corruption at senior levels of the police force. This approach is reported to have led to widespread resentment within the police force towards the work of the KPK. Sharp tensions surfaced in early December 2012 when the KPK took the highly controversial step of detaining Inspector General Djoko Susilo, a senior and active police general, on charges of corruption. A few days later, president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed public concern about the tensions between the KPK and the national police.
"Gecko vs crocodile" dispute
In April 2009, angry that the KPK had tapped his phone while investigating a corruption case, Indonesian Police chief detective Susno Duadji compared the KPK to a gecko (Indonesian: cicak) fighting a crocodile (Indonesian: buaya), the police. Susno's comment, as it turned out, quickly backfired because the image of a cicak standing up to a buaya (similar to David and Goliath imagery) immediately had wide appeal in Indonesia. A noisy popular movement in support of the cicak quickly emerged. Students staged pro-cicak demonstrations, many newspapers ran cartoons with cicaks lining up against an ugly buaya, and numerous TV talk shows took up the cicak versus buaya topic with enthusiasm. As a result, references to cicaks fighting a buaya have become a well-known part of the political imagery of Indonesia.
In September two KPK deputy chairmen Chandra Hamzah and Bibit Samad Rianto, who had been suspended in July, were arrested on charges of extortion and bribery. The two men denied the charges, saying they were being framed to weaken the KPK. There were demonstrations in several cities in support of the men and a support campaign on the Facebook social networking site gathered one million members. On 2 November 2009 president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono established a team to look into the allegations. The following day, during a hearing at the Indonesian Constitutional Court, dramatic tapes were played of bugged phone conversations apparently revealing a conspiracy to undermine the KPK. The names of businessman Susno Duadji as well as Deputy Attorney General Abdul Hakim Ritonga and a businessman, Anggodo Widjojo, were mentioned in the tapes. Bibit and Chandra were released later the same day.
The team established by the president, the "Team of Eight", presented its recommendations on 17 November 2009. These included a halt to the prosecution of Bibit and Chandra, punishment for officials guilty of wrongdoing and the establishment of a state commission to implement institutional reforms of law enforcement agencies. The president said he would respond within the week.
On 23 November 2009 the president made a speech responding to the Team of Eight's findings. He said that it would be better if the Bibit-Chandra case were settled out of court but did not call for the case to be dropped. He also said there was a need for reforms within the Indonesian National Police, the Attorney General's office and the KPK. His speech caused confusion among Team of Eight members and provoked a protest from activists who symbolically threw in their towels as a way of criticising what they judged to be the president's unconvincing response. On 3 December 2009, the president was officially informed that charges against Bibit and Chandra had been dropped.
Trial of Antasari Azhar
On 10 November, at the trial of KPK chairman Antasari Azhar, who had been arrested in May for allegedly organising the murder of a businessman, former South Jakarta police chief Williardi Wizard testified that senior police officers had asked him to help them frame Azhari.
Arrest of Bambang Widjojanto
The arrest of KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto by Indonesian Police on 23 January 2015 revived the "gecko vs crocodile" dispute. The arrest was made after the commission declared the parliament-approved candidate for the chief of Indonesian Police Budi Gunawan a suspect in a gratification case on 14 February, just days before his scheduled inauguration. The Indonesian public saw the arrest as an attack against KPK, and there was immediate support for the KPK. Immediately after the news of his arrest broke, various groups demonstrating in front of KPK headquarters in South Jakarta to show support for the organization. Netizens also created the hashtag #SaveKPK and it emerged as a worldwide trending topic on social media Twitter.
Revision of the KPK Law
On 17 September 2019, the People's Representative Council passed a bill revising Law No.30/2002 about Corruption Eradication in the country, which triggered a backlash by people taking the view that the revised bill would weaken the ability of the KPK to operate and perform investigations into corruption cases. The revised bill was deliberated and passed in only 12 days in the House. In a statement, the KPK said that it was not involved consulted over in the discussion of the revision. A series of mass demonstrations led by students took place in major cities of Indonesia from 23 September 2019 to protest against the KPK Law revision, as well as several bills. The protesters were mainly students from more than 300 universities, and had no association with any particular political parties or groups. The protests subsequently developed into the largest student movement in Indonesia since the 1998 demonstrations that brought down the Suharto regime.
Resources provided to the KPK have expanded in recent years. However, the work of the commission is still restricted by limited budgets and a small number of total staff.
KPK: Budget and staff, 2008 - 2011
|Year||Budget Rp bn||Budget $US mn||KPK Staff||$US per staff member|
- 2003 to 2007 Taufiequrachman Ruki
- 2007 to 2009 Antasari Azhar
- 2009 to 2010 Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean (interim)
- 2010 to 2011 Busyro Muqoddas
- 2011 to 2015 Abraham Samad
- February 2015 to December 2015 Taufiequrachman Ruki (interim)
- December 2015 to September 2019 Agus Raharjo
- September 2019 to present Firli Bahuri
- "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). KPK. 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
- "House's KPK picks 'politically motivated'". The Jakarta Post. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "100 days of blunders: Watchdog slams new KPK chairman's performance". The Jakarta Post. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
- J. A. C. Mackie, 'The report of the Commission of Four on corruption', Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, 6 (3), 1970: 87-101.
- "KPK: The Corruption Eradication Commission of Indonesia". Independent Commission Against Corruption (Hong Kong). Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- Schawrz, Adam (1994). A Nation in Waiting: Indonesia in the 1990s. Australia: Allen & Unwin. pp. 137–138. ISBN 1-86373-635-2.
- KPK resumes battle against judicial mafia in courts, Jakarta Post. 2 July 2016. Accessed 27 November 2016.
- "Vision and Mission". KPK website. Archived from the original on 16 October 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- "Corruption Eradication Commission 2008 Annual Report" (PDF). KPK. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- Norimitsu Onishi, "Corruption Fighters Rouse Resistance in Indonesia", New York Times, 25 July 2009.
- "Indonesian Minister Andi Mallarangeng resigns over graft charges". BBC News Asia. British Broadcasting Corporation. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- "Indonesia's sports minister resigns amid graft probe". Straits Times. AFP. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- Erviani, Ni Komang (3 December 2008). "KPK backlog reaches more than 16,000 cases". The Jakarta Post.
- Onishi, "Corruption Fighters Rouse Resistance in Indonesia."
- Muradi, 'Police versus KPK: A new chapter of rivalry?', The Jakarta Post, 9 December 2012.
- Rabby Pramudatama, 'KPK locks up police general', The Jakarta Post, 4 December 2012.
- Margareth S. Aritonang and Bagus BT Saragih, 'SBY 'concerned' over unsettled KPK-Police quandary', The Jakarta Post, 7 December 2012.
- Antagonism between the KPK and the police, with memories of the cicak versus buaya clash, remained deeply embedded in the relationship between the KPK and the police after the clash. See, for example, references to the clash in 2012 in Ina Parlina, 'Doubts over KPK inquiry into police bank accounts', The Jakarta Post, 18 May 2012.
- "The gecko bites back". The Economist. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- Katie Hamann (30 October 2009). "SBY vows to defends Indonesia's anti-graft agency". ABC Australian News, ABC Radio. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- "Indonesia's Antigraft Facebook 'Movement' Reaches One Million". Voice of Indonesia (RRI). Retrieved 17 November 2009.[permanent dead link]
- Erwida Maulia and Dicky Christanto (18 November 2009). "Team reports, steamroller plows on". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- Erwida Maulia (24 November 2009). "A better solution: Don't take the case to court, says SBY". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 28 November 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
- Kinanti Pinta Karana (23 November 2009). "Yudhoyono Calls for Reform of Indonesia's Police and AGO". The Jakarta Globe. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
- Heru Andriyanto & April Aswadi (5 December 2009). "President Ready to Issue a Decree Reinstating Chandra and Bibit to KPK". The Jakarta Globe. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
- Hasyim Widhiarto (11 November 2009). "Antasari 'framed'". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 17 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
- Reza Gunadha (23 January 2015). "Cicak vs Buaya Jilid II Dimulai". Tribunnews. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
- Al Abrar (23 January 2015). "Pendukung KPK Bertambah Banyak, Jalan Rasuna Said Macet". Metro TV. Archived from the original on 23 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
- Nurfika Osman (23 January 2015). "#SaveKPK worldwide trending topic on Twitter". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
- Ghaliya, Ghina (17 September 2019). "BREAKING: KPK bill passed into law". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
- "Selain Cipta Kerja, Ini Daftar UU Kontroversial yang disahkan". Kompas.
- Movanita, Ambaranie Nadia Kemala (18 September 2019). "Mulusnya Pengesahan Revisi UU KPK, Abai Kritik hingga Tak Libatkan KPK". Kompas.com (in Indonesian).
- "Indonesia protests: Hundreds hurt in student-police clashes". Al Jazeera. 25 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
- "No, Indonesian students are not taking to the streets only to fight sex ban". The Jakarta Post. 27 September 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- Rabby Pramudatama, 'KPK looks to public in House row', The Jakarta Post, 23 June 2012, and KPK annual reports. Final column is calculated from previous figures.