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16.11.09

Indonesian President’s Team to Deliver Anticorruption Report Today


The fact-finding team tasked with reviewing a National Police investigation into two suspended deputy chairmen of the antigraft agency is due to submit its recommendations to the president today, and looks almost certain to argue that the case be dropped.

While declining on Sunday to disclose whether they would recommend President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono order the case be dropped, one member of the so-called Team of Eight, lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis, hinted as much, stressing that “there’s not enough evidence” to bring it to court.

Fellow team member Anies Baswedan went further, saying: “Of course the recommendations will also include the resolution of the Bibit and Chandra case. We have already concluded that the case is fabricated so our final recommendations will reflect our earlier stance.”

A week ago, the team said in its preliminary findings that there was too little evidence to charge Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra M Hamzah, deputies from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), with extortion and abuse of power.

Other team members said on Sunday that their recommendations would not only pertain to plans by the Attorney General’s Office to prosecute Bibit and Chandra, but also to eliminating the so-called judicial mafia and enacting other reforms within the nation’s legal institutions.

“Bibit’s and Chandra’s case is an entry point to solving an even bigger problem within Indonesia’s judicial system,” said Adnan Buyung Nasution, the presidential adviser who chaired the team.

Adnan noted that the wiretapped telephone conversations played before the Constitutional Court on Nov. 3 revealed an apparent plot between the National Police, AGO and other senior figures to frame the KPK deputies for taking bribes. The country’s top law enforcement bodies have been entangled in a long-running feud.

The recordings also confirmed the existence of “case brokers” operating at the National Police and the AGO, who for a fee help people in legal straights get off the hook. “Before the recordings were made public, Indonesians had a hard time proving these case brokers existed because their operations were neatly covered up,” Adnan said.

The country’s courts, National Police and AGO have regularly been featured on lists compiled by Transparency International Indonesia of the nation’s most corrupt institutions.

Since beginning work on Nov. 2, the fact-finding team has summoned officials and figures mentioned or heard in the recordings, including the National Police’s chief of detectives, Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji, and Deputy Attorney General Abdul Hakim Ritonga.

Both submitted their resignations amid intense public pressure, but neither has faced disciplinary action. Adnan said the team would recommend that officials implicated be punished.

“There should be firm sanctions applied, so [the public] will feel a sense of justice,” he said.

The National Police have been harshly criticized for refusing to drop their investigations against the KPK commissioners following the release of the recordings, as has the AGO for planning to move ahead with trials. Both agencies maintain they have solid evidence against the two deputies and want the dispute aired in court.

Lubis said while the Team of Eight would submit its recommendations in writing, as of Sunday night it did not yet have an appointment with the president to hand over its report. The team spent Sunday finalizing its recommendations.

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