Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally enforced the law. Elements within the government, police, and the judiciary, however, tried to undermine efforts to prosecute corrupt officials. Despite the arrest and conviction of many high-profile and high-ranking officials, there was a widespread domestic and international perception that corruption remained endemic. The KPK, POLRI, the TNI Special Economics Crime Unit, and the Attorney General’s Office have jurisdiction over investigating and prosecuting corruption cases. The KPK does not have authority to investigate members of the military, nor does it have jurisdiction in cases where state losses are valued at less than IDR one billion ($68,600).
KPK investigators were sometimes harassed, intimidated, or attacked due to their anticorruption work. In 2017 assailants used acid to attack a senior KPK investigator, Novel Baswedan, who had been investigating graft allegations associated with the E-KTP electronic identity card scandal. Police have not identified the perpetrators of the attack.
Corruption: The KPK continued to investigate and prosecute officials suspected of corruption at all levels of government. Several high-profile corruption cases involved large-scale government procurement or construction programs and implicated legislators, governors, regents, judges, police, and civil servants. Through the end of 2017, the KPK carried out investigations and prosecutions, recovering approximately IDR 1.9 trillion ($130,000,000) in state assets. The KPK maintained a 100 percent conviction rate and prosecuted 3,640 graft cases from a total of 3,669 it investigated from 2002 to 2016. According to its 2017 annual report, during that year the KPK conducted 161 investigations, initiated 50 prosecutions, and completed 95 cases resulting in convictions.
In December 2017 the KPK resumed its prosecution of national legislators implicated in graft related to mark-ups in the country’s E-KTP procurement project, resulting in IDR 2.3 trillion ($158,000,000) in state losses. The E-KTP case, the largest corruption case ever investigated by the KPK, resulted in the first corruption conviction of a speaker of the DPR. On April 24, the corruption court convicted former speaker and Golkar Party chairman Setya Novanto and sentenced him to 15 years in prison for graft related to the E-KTP procurement. The court ordered Novanto to pay restitution to the state budget for losses incurred due to his embezzlement, and he was stripped of his political rights for five years from the date of his release from prison. The corruption court also convicted two businesspersons implicated in the E-KTP procurement. The KPK successfully prosecuted individuals who the antigraft agency alleged perjured themselves during the investigation of the E-KTP graft scheme, with former lawmaker Miryam Haryani sentenced to five years in prison in late 2017, Novanto’s lawyer, Fredrich Yunadi, sentenced to three years in prison on June 28, and Novanto’s physician, Dr. Bimanesh Sutarjo, sentenced to three years in prison on July 23 for falsifying medical information to help Novanto avoid arrest.
The KPK actively investigated alleged graft by elected officials and candidates seeking election, including politicians registered for the June regional executive election. As of mid-August the KPK announced it had arrested 15 district heads, including 14 incumbent district heads seeking re-election. For example, in January the KPK arrested Rudi Erawan, the regent of East Halmahera, North Maluku, for accepting bribes related to a local infrastructure project. In February the KPK arrested Marianus Sae, a district head and East Nusa Tenggara gubernatorial candidate, for accepting $300,000 in bribes for an infrastructure project, as well as Southeast Sulawesi gubernatorial candidate Asrun (one name only) and his son, the mayor of provincial capital Kendari, on graft charges. Corruption courts handed down convictions in corruption cases involving elected officials at the provincial, district, and mayoral levels.
According to NGOs and media reports, police commonly demanded bribes ranging from minor payoffs in traffic cases to large bribes in criminal investigations. Corrupt officials sometimes subjected migrants returning from abroad, primarily women, to arbitrary strip searches, theft, and extortion.
Bribes and extortion influenced prosecution, conviction, and sentencing in civil and criminal cases. Key individuals in the justice system were accused of accepting bribes and condoning suspected corruption. Legal aid organizations reported cases often moved very slowly unless a bribe was paid and that in some cases prosecutors demanded payments from defendants to ensure a less zealous prosecution or to make a case disappear.
As of April the National Ombudsman Commission had received 263 complaints related to litigation favors and maladministration in court decisions. In the first quarter of the year, the Judicial Commission received 124 public complaints related to judicial authority misconduct and recommended 51 judges be subject to further investigation. In the same period, the commission recommended sanctions against 19 judges accused of manipulating trials.
On July 21, President Jokowi signed a presidential regulation outlining the administration’s updated national anticorruption strategy. The decree mandates the formation of a national team to implement the government’s anticorruption activities. The regulation further stipulates that anticorruption efforts should be aligned with KPK’s priorities and efforts and focus on state finances, governance and licensing, and law enforcement.
Financial Disclosure: The law requires senior government officials as well as other officials working in certain agencies to file financial disclosure reports. The law requires that the reports include all assets held by the officials, their spouses, and their dependent children. The law requires reports be filed when the official takes office, every two years thereafter, within two months of leaving office, and immediately upon request by the KPK. The KPK is responsible for verifying disclosures and publicizing them in the State Gazette and on the internet. There are criminal sanctions for noncompliance in cases involving corruption. Not all assets were verified due to human resource limitations within the KPK.
In March President Jokowi issued a presidential regulation requiring business entities in the country to reveal their beneficial owners to the government. The regulation aims to help identify conflicts of interest between government officials and businesses. On August 7, the State Employment Agency issued a circular mandating investigations of government employees suspected of corruption.