Friday, December 2, 2011

House told to vote with ‘conscience’

House told to vote with ‘conscience’
Bagus BT Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 12/02/2011 7:32 AM
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After months of political maneuvering, the House of Representatives’ law commission is scheduled today to decide on four new leaders for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

Amid a blizzard of corruption cases implicating lawmakers, and scornful relations between the House and the KPK, many expect that the 55 lawmakers in the commission will vote for the candidates who would best suit their interests.

A series of interviews with the eight final candidates this week have shown that it may take more than integrity to pilot the anticorruption agency.

Lawmakers from the big three political parties — the Democratic Party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Golkar Party — who control 33 out of the 55 seats in the commission, have denounced the candidacy of KPK advisor Abdullah Hehamahua, citing his lack of expertise as his biggest shortcoming.

The support for senior prosecutor Zulkarnaen has grown stronger despite his questionable track record.

Documents made available to The Jakarta Post revealed that Zulkarnaen allegedly handpicked prosecutors to handle the high-profile judicial mafia case involving Sjahril Djohan, which became a media hit in 2010.

He also allegedly helped graft defendant Syaukani H.R., a former Kutai Kartanegara regent, leave detention while facing corruption charges in 2007.

Lawmakers from the Democratic Party and the PDI-P, as well as some from Golkar, have declared their support for the former head of the South Kalimantan Prosecutor’s Office.

Democratic Party lawmakers Suhartono Wijaya and Ruhut Sitompul described the senior prosecutor as “an intelligent and honest figure”. Ruhut even openly persuaded lawmakers from other parties to vote for him.

“Some candidates have clean records and outstanding integrity while some others have been widely exposed as having poor track records. This must be made the lawmakers’ top consideration,” said Emerson Yuntho of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW).

This week’s interviews with the candidates have left some observers tipping lawyer and Makassar-based activist Abraham Samad as a potential dark horse.

Forty-five-year-old Samad, the youngest among the eight, reportedly has won backing from the three major factions.

Both Zulkarnaen and Samad were deemed to have performed less well than their rivals, according to
the government-sanctioned selection committee.

The committee named lawyer Bambang Widjojanto and former Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) chief Yunus Husein and Abdullah as the best three candidates.

Activists have warned that low-ranked candidates might instead be chosen by politicians as their past “wrongdoings” might be used against them as a form of blackmail. (sat)

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