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Cleaning Up Corruption [2005] ADBLPRes 9 (1 May 2005)

Cleaning Up Corruption

ADB Review [ May 2005 ]

The Indonesian Attorney General’s reform agenda aims to tackle corruption and enhance law enforcement

By Judy Bryant,
Consultant Writer

When Abdul Rahman Saleh was sworn in as Indonesia’s new Attorney General October 2004, he set about devising a plan to clean up corruption the Attorney General’s Office (AGO).

He also aimed to bring to justice those who had stolen billions of government funds through corruption.

Mr. Saleh’s four-point plan was to investigate and prosecute corruption cases throughout Indonesia; review all cases in which investigations or prosecutions had been stalled; promote reforms within the AGO; and establish a prosecutorial commission to help develop an external control mechanism of the AGO.

The idea to promote internal reforms of the AGO is based on repeated public calls to establish an ethical, transparent, participatory, and accountable public prosecution service.

Internal reform of the AGO will be based on the findings and recommendations of an independent governance audit—published on 30 April 2001—which calls for, among others, the overhaul of the public prosecution service management system, Mr. Saleh says.

The reforms will include improving the system for handling legal cases in a way that will enhance public access, develop a transparent and accountable supervisory system, simplify procedures for handling legal cases, develop a transparent human resource management system that encourages professionalism, and formulate the concept for an integrated criminal justice system.

Internal reforms are supported by a presidential instruction to accelerate efforts to combat corruption: a national action plan on combating corruption is now being prepared.

The public prosecution service, similar to the court system, needs an external control mechanism to supervise and enhance its performance, Mr. Saleh says. He recommended establishing a prosecutorial commission with supervisory, disciplinary, and policy recommendation powers.

"The establishment of a prosecutorial commission will ensure external supervision of the internal control mechanism, including the possibility of a plaintiff to challenge the decision of internal control structures in front of the commission."

A prosecutorial commission will monitor and evaluate organizational conditions, the adequacy of infrastructure and human resources within the AGO; supervise and evaluate the conduct of prosecutors in carrying out their jobs and/or outside their jobs; and submit recommendations based on monitoring, evaluation, and supervision to be followed up by the Attorney General. A prosecutorial commission will also oversee the internal supervision unit.

A committee will be responsible for the transparent, participative, and accountable selection of commissioners.

In combating corruption, AGO has been tasked with developing performance targets with clear performance/success indicators for officers; optimizing the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases, and recovering state assets; preventing the abuse of power by prosecutors and imposing sanctions against those who abuse their power; and enhancing cooperation and coordination with the National Police, State Audit Board, Finance and Development Supervisory Board, Indonesian Financial Transaction Report and Analysis Center, and other enforcement institutions and agencies tasked to recover state assets.

In promoting transparency, participation, and accountability within it, AGO is recruiting independent experts and members of civil society to participate in the reform efforts.

Independent legal experts will also be included in two task forces that will review stalled cases and accelerate the processing of corruption cases and the implementation of the internal reform agenda.

This article is based on excerpts from a piece written by Attorney General of Indonesia Abdul Rahman Saleh.

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