Jakarta - Amid speculation that he is facing resistance from his own Cabinet in the battle against corruption, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has set up a new team of graft-busters. The team, chaired by Deputy Attorney-General Hendarman Supandji, was inaugurated on May 4.
The 48-member Graft Fighting Team, which comprises police officers and state prosecutors and auditors, will coordinate efforts to investigate and prosecute corruption cases. It has wide-ranging powers to arrest suspects and confiscate assets and will report directly to the President.
“Once the wheel of anti-graft drive turns, it will never stop,” said Mr Yudhoyono, who recently ordered an audit into four top government offices, including the Presidential Office, as part of a top-down reform drive to stamp out the practice that infects all levels of government in the country. Indonesia topped the latest list ofAsia’s most corrupt nations issued by the Political & Economic Risk Consultancy.
The team has already been assigned several tasks by the President. They include an investigation into 16 state-owned companies and three private firms suspected of financial irregularities and collusion. He also wants the team to renew efforts to arrest 12 corruption suspects and convicts who had fled overseas.
Mr Yudhoyono said he understood his latest move would be met with scepticism as previous similar efforts had failed to produce any real results.
“Many will even sneer at us – but don’t waste you time and energy (on responding) to this criticism,” he told the team members.
* President inaugurates corruption eradication coordinating team (The Jakarta Post, May 4)
* Yudhoyono’s graft busters (The Straits Times, May 5)