IDNAround – The Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, has no intention of backing down its commitment to arresting and prosecuting high-level graft suspects, its chairman said on Tuesday.
“I order every KPK service member to take decisive legal measures without any doubt against graft suspects including making arrests,” Firli Bahuri said at the year-end news conference in Jakarta.
His remarks came a week after Chief Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan criticized the commission for being too aggressive in arresting people, saying that KPK’s many anti-graft busts have damaged Indonesia’s reputation on the international stage.
“Those anti-corruption raids aren’t actually good, they did damage to our nation,” Luhut said at an event where Firli was also present.
But the anti-graft czar reiterated that the KPK is an independent body not to be bowed down by pressures from the elite.
“The KPK is a state agency of the executive branch that in executing its duties and mandate is under no influence from the powerful and it bows to nobody,” Firli said.
The KPK was established in 2004 as an ad hoc body after the government declared corruption as an “extraordinary crime” that required out-of-the-box policies and measures beyond the works of traditional law enforcement agencies like the police and prosecutors’ office.
It has since arrested 1,519 suspects including active ministers, governors, mayors, district heads, businessmen, and other high-profile figures.
In the last eight years, the KPK has recovered Rp 3.3 trillion ($211 million) in stolen state assets, Firli said.
During this year alone, the KPK has conducted 10 anti-corruption busts and arrested 149 suspects, 38 more than a year earlier. The suspects include two Supreme Court justices, four district heads, two mayors, and a state university chancellor, among others.