Jokowi’s police chief nominee declared corruption suspect

JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) – Just a few days after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo named Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan as the sole candidate to become the next Indonesian Police chief, the powerful anti-graft agency has declared him a corruption suspect.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which has a solid track record of convicting those it declares as suspects, announced in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, January 13, that Budi is accused of accepting bribes when he was head of the career development bureau at the National Police headquarters from 2003-2006.

Activists have previously questioned why Jokowi didn’t consult the KPK about Budi, especially since he was implicated in the 2009 controversy involving police generals with “fat bank accounts”. Budi was alleged to have more than $10 million in two bank accounts, which was considered disproportionate to his salary. 

An internal police investigation did not lead to any charges, Budi’s supporters say, and early comments from lawmakers – including from the opposition – indicate they believe Budi meets the requirements for the job, according to the Jakarta Post.

Still, it came as a surprise that Jokowi, who took extra steps to ensure his cabinet was clean by asking the KPK to vet them, nominated Budi on Friday, January 9, as the sole candidate with no consultation from the anti-graft agency.

Budi, the current head of the National Police Education Division (Lemdikpol), was the former adjutant of Jokowi’s political patron, former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, and many speculated the nomination was dicated by the latter.


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