Is the KPK Eating Its Young?

Is the KPK eating its own young? Ten years have passed and we should ask the question if the corruption commission is really for the people or just another political weapon readied for abuse? The Democratic Party, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), and Golkar Party are now in the public limelight because of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has caught their cadres in corruption cases. The KPK, under Abraham Samad’s leadership, is obviously targeting corruption cases involving members of parliament and political parties as the main target. Does this have something to do with Indonesia’s 2014 Elections? Well, we can only say in a positive manner that it’s what the KPK should do: eradicate corruption. But somehow it drives the KPK to focus on political parties or businesses who upset the powerful in a tit for tat. One pathetic thing in this circumstance is politicians dominate the corruption gang in parliament and the political parties arrested by KPK.

The big name that public finds hard to forget is Anas Urbaningrum, a corruption suspect in Hambalang project. Although we do not know for sure what his contribution was to this country,  his figure is pretty well-known in Indonesia Politics. His success in occupying the Chairman of the Democratic Party seat in 2010 is proof. He, unexpectedly, beat two other Democratic Party Chairman candidates, Marzukie Alie, and Andi Mallarangeng, who received support from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). Just within two and half years, Urbaningrum let his position go as the number one person in the Democratic Party and SBY, voted by acclamation, got the position. Mallarangeng was also dragged into Hambalang corruption cases, following Nazaruddin, and Angelina Sondakh.

The next surprise came from PKS, which won two elections in Indonesia, the same with Democratic Party. The KPK arrested Lutfi Hasan over an alleged beef import bribery case in the Ministry of Agriculture. His position as President of PKS was then replaced by Anis Matta -formerly the Secretary General- as Hasan had to take a break for a while at KPK-owned detention (Rutan KPK). The judge has still not handed down any verdict because the case is still in the proccess of trial, which may involve new names such as Ahmad Fathanah, Hasan’s assistant who was also arrested by the KPK. It’s no wonder Fathanah mentions one name then suspects the person for taking part in that case, and having a close relationship with SBY.

The KPK also has the old party on its mind. Zulkarnaen Djabbar, who serves as Vice Chairman of Mutual Assistance Consultative Organization (MKGR), was convicted in corruption cases involving the procurement of Holy Quran books by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The case is also dragging in Dendy Prasetiya, Fahd Rafiq, and Vasco Ruseimy. All three are active members in MKGR, which are mass organizations formed by Golkar. Another Golkar politician, Chairunnisa, member of House of Representatives Commission II RI, is also currently caught in the act bribing the Constitutional Court Chief Justice, Akil Mochtar. The bribery case relates to the dispute in Regional Election (Pilkada) in Gunung Mas, Central Kalimantan, and Lebak, Banten. It wasn’t long after that the KPK abducted Golkar cadre, Tubagus Chaeri Wardana, younger brother of Banten Governor Ratu Atut; younger brother of the Vice Regent of Serang Ratu Tatu Chassanah; and the husband of South Tangerang Mayor Airin Rachmi Diany, for dispute election bribery case in Lebak.

This bribery case in the election dispute is somewhat interesting. The KPK seems it will have its eye on Atut and her colleagues because this case actually uncovers the business empire involving Atut’s big family in Banten. Reportedly, according to Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) and the Public Budget Transparency (Masyarakat Transparansi Anggaran – MATA) Banten, the business empire belongs to Atut and her relative controls 175 projects in Banten province over a period from 2011 to 2013 with a total value of Rp 1,148 trillion. Will Golkar wash its hands when Atut is dragged by KPK? It is close to impossible to tell. Atut is one of the most successfulcadre that Golkar has ever had. She has served two terms as governor, got credit for yellowing Banten, and then positioned the province as the largest voter base for Golkar on Java Island. Not to mention, as the rumor says, Banten is also a money barn for the party that makes Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) and the Democratic Party envious. So let’s say that Atut and her business are the real targets. This  will give bargaining power to the Democratic Party to keep Golkar from saying less about Century Gate.

The similar point of the parliamentarians and cadres of political parties dragged into corruption cases handled by the KPK is they are just a bunch of politicians. It always will be easy for the KPK to tackle them as they don’t have strong influence yet. We can see they are not able to escape from the chain of the KPK, but they are absolutely the fresh meat to be undercover hostages for political parties’ interest that may serve the political masters. It is yet to be seen if KPK is apolitical or just another body used for political intrigue for the current and the future political masters.

For the politicians who have entered the circle of parliament, political parties and for business it is necessary to be vigilant in their behavior, raising the question if the KPK is soon turning on its own political masters of the SBY administration. Without doubt both PPATK  and KPK are powerful institutions which if not supervised are not more than political inquisitors.

About Rina Hutajulu 17 Articles
Rina Hutajulu is an independent journalist for the Dekker Centre focusing on political studies of civil society movements and environmental issues in Indonesia. She writes for various on line media and print media as well. Rina is based in Jakarta.

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