Indonesia’s anti-graft chairman suspect in corruption case

Indonesia’s anti-graft chairman suspect in corruption case

Jakarta (AFP): Indonesia has named the chairman of its anti-graft commission as a suspect in a corruption case, according to police, in a setback to the reputation of an agency set up two decades ago after the fall of dictator Suharto.

It is the first time the head of the archipelago’s anti-corruption body has been accused of the crime it was created to police.

Graft remains rampant in the archipelago nation, which ranked 110th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s latest corruption perception index.

Police named Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chief Firli Bahuri as a suspect on Wednesday over allegations of extortion and receiving gifts or gratuities in legal dealings with the Agriculture Ministry from 2020 to 2023.

Ade Safri Simanjuntak, Jakarta police’s director for special crime, told reporters late Wednesday that Bahuri would be questioned “as the KPK chief in his capacity as a suspect in alleged corruption crime.”

Last month, former Indonesian agriculture minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo was arrested after a series of accusations including pocketing more than $800,000 in public funds.

The allegations against Bahuri are linked to Limpo’s case.

Bahuri — a former police chief in South Sumatra and West Nusa Tenggara provinces who became KPK chief in 2019 — has yet to be arrested and police did not say if they intended to detain him.

As part of the probe, police searched two properties, interviewed more than 90 individuals and seized evidence including foreign exchange documents in Singaporean and US dollars between 2021 and 2023 amounting to more than 7.4 billion rupiah ($478,000), police said.

The commission did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment, but Bahuri has previously denied the allegations on several occasions.

If found guilty on bribery charges, he could face life in prison.

Indonesia has arrested scores of public officials for graft in recent years.

In 2021, a former social affairs minister was jailed for 12 years after being convicted of taking $1.2 million in bribes linked to food aid for poor families hit by the coronavirus pandemic.