Asia Indonesia criticised for anti-corruption law revamp despite minister's resignation

Indonesia criticised for anti-corruption law revamp despite minister’s resignation

Critics against the amendments say there are too many loopholes and the KPK is now subject to rules that could undermine its authority

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At least two groups of anti-graft activists plan to file a lawsuit against the recently amended law on the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, saying the amendment process was full of flaws and the revisions undermine the agency.

There are calls for the President to halt the implementation of the amendments but Joko Widodo said he would not issue any memos overriding the said amendments.

Jokowi was responding to student’s demands for a rejection of the revised Commission Act. Student bodies are now calling for demonstrations in several regions after the president said there is no repeal to the amendments.

Monday, the country’s sports minister had resigned after being named a bribery suspect by the anti-corruption agency.

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But critics against the amendments say there are too many loopholes and the KPK is now subject to rules that could undermine its authority.

Gadjah Mada University’s Anti-Corruption Study Center (Pukat UGM) and the Indonesian Corruption Watch said they would request a judicial review from the Constitutional Court in order to get the amended law overturned.

The groups say the deliberations on the amendment were “not participative” and pointed out it was not even included in the House of Representatives’ (DPR) list of priority bills for 2019.

Jakarta Globe says KPK’s commissioners have repeatedly complained that they were never invited to the House hearings to convey their views about the revisions to the law.

In addition, the amendment that has been passed by a House plenary session contains several articles that potentially undermine the work of the antigraft agency, say representatives of the groups.

The new law orders the establishment of a supervisory body that will grant the KPK the necessary warrant before it can wiretap suspects and ‘grants’ the KPK the authority to halt a graft case midway through the investigation.

Mr Imam Nahrawi is the second Cabinet minister to be engulfed in the corruption case, which has been a blow to Mr Joko, Indonesia’s first president to come from outside the political or military establishment. Mr Joko took office in 2014, promising clean, effective government.

The bribery case involves two organisations: the sports ministry and the National Sports Committee (Koni).

Mr Imam is accused of taking 26.5 billion rupiah (S$2.6 million) in bribes related to a request to the ministry for a grant proposal by Koni in its budget last year, said Mr Alexander Marwata, deputy chief of the KPK. -/TISG

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