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78 anti-corruption commission employees found guilty of ethics breach in prison illegal levies scandal ​​​​​​​

A gavel rests on a judge bench. (The Columbus Dispatch/TNS)
February 21, 2024

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) supervisory council found dozens of employees guilty of an ethics breach for soliciting illegal levies from detainees in exchange for prison perks.

On Thursday, the council ruled that 78 employees stationed at KPK detention centers were guilty of soliciting bribes, ordering them to make a public apology video to be broadcast by the antigraft body.

They solicited the illegal levies between 2018 and 2023 when guarding three detention centers for KPK suspects: the Merah Putih detention center located just behind the antigraft body’s headquarters, the C1 detention center in the KPK’s old building and another center at the Jakarta Military Police (Pomdam Jaya) Guntur Jaya; all in South Jakarta.

The council stated in its ruling that one of the aggravating factors was that the scandal led to a decline in the public trust in the antigraft body.

The punishment of making a public apology was a severe “moral punishment” according to the KPK supervisory council regulation on the antigraft body’s code of ethics, said council chairman Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean.

While the council ruled on the case against 78 employees, it handed over the investigation against 12 other employees who allegedly accepted illegal levies from prisoners in 2018 to the KPK secretary-general.

“The other 12 cases were handed over to the KPK because their actions were carried out before the council was established,” Tumpak said in a press briefing on Thursday.

The supervisory council was only established in late 2019, several months after the revision to the KPK Law that mandated the formation of a supervisory board to the antigraft body was passed by the House of Representatives.

The council recommended the KPK’s secretary-general, as the antigraft body’s official handling staffing issues, to probe all the 90 employees which might lead to disciplinary sanctions against them.

“A civil servant can only be dismissed [from the institution] if they violate the disciplinary code,” Tumpak said. “It is not under the council’s authority, it’s under the authority of the KPK secretary-general and inspectorate general.”

The illegal levies scandal against detainees and their families came to light in June last year, when the council investigated a detention center worker over a sexual misconduct allegation. Findings from the ethical probe led to a series of ethical investigations and later hearings against 93 employees; the latter kicked off last month.

“There are still three other employees who have not been questioned, including a detention center head and a police officer seconded to the KPK,” council member Albertina Ho said, adding the council would start an investigation into them soon.

She added that dozens of employees stationed at the KPK detention centers had pocketed up to Rp 6 billion (US$383,249) in bribes between 2018 and 2023. The levies were collected by one of the detainees, who later handed them over to a warden, who would distribute the money to other KPK employees in the detention centers.

The council found an employee identified as Hengki, a civil servant seconded from the Law and Human Rights Ministry as security coordinator in KPK detention centers, as the mastermind of the illegal levies. He left the KPK in 2022, but other wardens still used the same method to collect levies from detainees.

The council has no authority to probe Hengki as he is now assigned to the Jakarta provincial administration. “But it is still possible if authorities want to prosecute him,” Albertina said.

Each of the 90 KPK employees accepted various amounts of money, ranging from Rp 1 million to Rp 425 million. Some of the illicit money was given monthly.

The KPK is still investigating the illegal levy in the detention center. The antigraft body acting law enforcement deputy Asep Guntur Rahayu previously said that the KPK would take firm action against employees found guilty of taking illegal levies, as such action could be taken as accepting unlawful gifts and prosecutable under the 2001 Corruption Law.


(c) 2024 the Asia News Network

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