Indonesia’s Jokowi Names Ex-Graft Suspect Gunawan as Spy Chief

  • Gunawan is sole nominee to head National Intelligence Agency
  • Local court cleared Gunawan as graft suspect last year

Indonesia’s deputy police chief Budi Gunawan, who was investigated and cleared over corruption allegations last year, has been nominated to head the country’s spy agency.

President Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, named Gunawan to lead the National Intelligence Agency, replacing Sutiyoso, who was appointed to the post last July. Lawmakers will debate the nomination and hold a vote as soon as possible, House speaker Ade Komarudin said on the parliamentary Twitter account.

“This can be seen as the cost Jokowi has to pay in exchange for the freedom he had in choosing his ministers at the recent cabinet reshuffle,” said Shinta Eka Puspasari, a political risk analyst at Concord Consulting in Jakarta. “But the public reaction won’t be as major as when Gunawan was named for police chief, as the spy chief position isn’t as publicly visible.”

Jokowi had previously nominated Gunawan for police chief but withdrew it after the anti-corruption commission named him a suspect. Some of Jokowi’s parliamentary supporters viewed that nomination as a breach of his campaign promise to tackle graft and govern free of party interests. A court in February last year cleared Gunawan, removing a legal impediment to his latest nomination.

Gunawan was personal adjutant to Megawati Soekarnoputri, who was president from 2001 to 2004 and heads the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, the party that backed Jokowi’s bid for the presidency.

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