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Yudhoyono Backs Indonesia Anti-Graft Body in Case Against Police

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia's president. Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono backed the government’s anti-corruption agency in a dispute with the national police over which body should pursue a graft case involving police procurement of driving simulators.

“The case should be handled by one institution alone and that is the KPK,” Yudhoyono said, referring to the Corruption Eradication Commission by its acronym at a briefing at the Presidential Palace late yesterday after he met with leaders of both agencies. Coordination between the police and KPK “isn’t working well,” he said.

Dozens of police officers arrived at the KPK office Oct. 5 to question one of its investigators about an unrelated case from 2004 on the same day the KPK questioned Djoko Susilo, former chief of the national traffic police, about the driving simulator case, state news agency Antara reported yesterday. Novel Baswedan, a KPK investigator seconded from the police, led the probe against Susilo, the report said.

The case highlights Yudhoyono’s difficulty in eradicating corruption in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, where legal uncertainty threatens to hamper growth. Indonesia ranks 100 out of 182 countries according to the Transparency International corruption perception index.

“The police’s wish to legally process Novel Baswedan I view as not proper be it the timing or its method,” Yudhoyono said. “I reject any attempt to weaken KPK.”

Yudhoyono also said legislators’ plan to revise the anti-graft law was untimely.

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