Tuesday, July 10, 2007

KPK members should be publicly accountable

Monday, July 02, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The legal commission of the House of Representatives should set a clear selection criteria for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) membership and members of the commission should be made accountable to the public, the Indonesian Corruption Watch Team said.

A selection committee formed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will soon shortlist 10 candidates for KPK and from there the House's Commission III will select five people via a "fit and proper test" to make up the next anticorruption commission.

But the Indonesian Corruption Watch's coordinator Teten Masduki said the House must be open to a revision of the "fit and proper test" criteria in order to gain public trust and to illustrate the government's commitment to reduce corruption nationally.

"The committee should play a strategic role in the selection process to ensure the quality of candidates," Teten said.

"The anxiety toward the House's position is understandable.

"However the selection committee should come out with really good candidates (then) the final House selection will not really matter," he said.

Teten said the committee should also meet with members of Commission III to set a united and comprehensive selection criteria for KPK members.

"This is important to ensure public trust toward the (anticorruption) commission (is built)," he said.

"Corruption in Indonesia is massive and complicated and this heavy task should be carried out by those who are trusted by the public."

Mas Achmad Santosa, a member of the selection committee, said the public should not doubt the independency and accountability of the committee's selection results as they had involved non-committee experts and the public.

"I don't see (any chance) of the selection process being influenced by the government or even by the House because we will use the principle of one-man one-vote," Santosa said.

"The committee members are also public figures with good track records and I'm sure that they have the vision for zero corruption.

"Besides, we will also have a selection process which involves experts from outside the committee," he said.

On May 16, President Yudhoyono established a 15-member committee to select candidates for the 2007-2011 KPK membership.

The selection process is set to run from June 14 until the end of November.

Santosa said the process would include an administrative selection, a written test, a psychology test and track record investigation.

"I think the election process will reduce subjectivity," he said.

Both Santosa and Teten agreed the next KPK membership should not worry about the bulk of tasks stipulated in the 2002 law on the KPK.

They said the KPK should focus on "institutional building and law enforcement" to ensure the recovery of state losses.

Santosa said after a commission for corruption eradication was established in Nigeria in 2002, US$5 billion of state assets had been recovered.

But Indonesia's KPK had recovered just Rp 50.4 billion (US$5.5 million), they said.

Asset recovery, or lack of, was related to budget allocation for law enforcement activities, Tenten said.

"And this sits at just 11 percent of the total Rp 500 billion budget of the KPK," he said.

"The next KPK should focus on cases that involve big businesses, politicians and government officials." (02)

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