JAKARTA: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s stance on corruption eradication has been called into question, particularly after a string of sentence remissions and clemency granted to corruption convicts, while the judicial system has also caused concern.
On Oct 25, Jokowi issued clemency to former Riau governor Annas Maamun, who was convicted for accepting bribes of Rp 1.5 billion (RM445,902) for a forest conversion that caused Rp5bil (RM1.49bil) in state losses.
The clemency was made on humanitarian grounds since Annas, now 79, is considered too old to live in a correctional facility and he is suffering from ill health.
The recent Supreme Court ruling in favour of former social affairs minister and Golkar party politician Idrus Marham sparked public outrage as Idrus’ initial five-year sentence was reduced to two years.
Idrus was found guilty of accepting Rp2.25bil (RM668,835) in bribes in return for granting the rights to develop the Riau-1 power plant.
The Supreme Court also acquitted on July 9 former chairman of the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) Syafruddin Arsyad Tumenggung of corruption charges.
Syafruddin was previously found guilty by the Jakarta Corruption Court of absolving the owner of Indonesia State Trading Bank (BDNI) Sjamsul Nursalim from repaying the government causing Rp4.58 trillion (RM136bil) in state losses.
Gerindra Party spokesman Habiburokhman said that granting sentence reduction and clemency was lawful.
“Prison sentences are under the court’s judicial power.
“Other than that, a law and human rights ministerial regulation suggests leniency on humanitarian grounds for criminals aged above 70 years, ” he said during a discussion on discounted sentences for graft convicts on Sunday.
He also said that the President’s second term had just begun.
According to him, checks and balances will be used to address the problem, and it is “unfair” to be pessimistic about the government’s commitment.
Saut Situmorang, a deputy chief of the Corruption Eradication Commission, said clemency was actually a small problem that could be solved through an improvement in prison facilities.
“If health is the problem, then we should build health facilities in prison, not grant clemency, ” he said. — The Jakarta Post/ANN