02/17/2015, 00.00
INDONESIA
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With the courts and police against anti-corruption commission, Indonesia's government institutions in a mess

by Mathias Hariyadi
The court ends the investigation against General Gunawan, throwing out all the charges against him. The investigation had effectively stopped his appointment as chief of police. Meanwhile, the police has started an investigation against top officials in the anti-corruption agency over false papers, causing an outcry among civil society groups.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The confrontation between Indonesia's Anti-Corruption Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi or KPK), the courts and police is getting worse, with consequences for Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi "Widodo.

Civil society groups have reacted with dissatisfaction and protests to the quick ruling by which a court in Jakarta threw out all the charges against General Budi Gunawan, whose (suspended) appointment as police chief had been controversial.

For some analysts and experts in local politics, the decision shows how the efforts to "fight corruption" in high places are "all in vain" because of external interference.

Now police and anti-corruption investigators are at odds with each other after charges were laid against leading KPK officials Abraham Samad and Bambang Widjojanto over fake papers involving a woman's passport application.

For many, this investigation is retaliation against the accusation made by the anti-corruption agency against General Gunawan (pictured), who had been picked by the government and parliament as the next chief of police.

The court threw out all the charges against the general, an associate of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri between 2002 and 2004, thus effectively disavowed the KPK's work, which had shown irregularities in the general's bank accounts.

The investigation had stopped the general from being appointed as Indonesian police chief in lieu of outgoing General Sutarman.

President Jokowi had put forward his name to parliament for approval, but had to wait for the court decision despite pressures from the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan or PDI-P), which backed Gunawan, despite allegations and the subsequent investigation.

Now the ruling by the Jakarta court, which found the former military "not guilty", seems to have ended the investigation and paved the way for his appointment.

For civil society groups and those involved in the fight against corruption, the decision has brought despair and indignation and represents the defeat of the justice system and the rule of law.

The attack against the KPK comes after a series of successes in the past three years, during which it was able to clamp down on bribery and malfeasance.

Some illustrious personages in the world's most populous Muslim nation have been caught in the KPK net, including some high-ranking officials in the country's justice system, politics and economy.

For instance, a prominent minister in the previous government as well as the chief justice of the Constitutional Court have been arrested.

The anticorruption agency uncovered scandals in the oil industry and the behind-the-scene intrigues that led to the re-election of a former governor of the Central Bank.

With 16-year sentence, Lutfi Hasan, a former MP and head of Islamist Justice and Prosperous Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera or PKS), got one of the toughest verdicts.

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