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Indonesia police chief nominee hit with graft allegations

Indonesia President Joko WidodoPresident Joko Widodo said Friday he’ll postpone his appointment of a three star police general to be the national police chief because of allegations of corruption.

The independent Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) named Budi Gunawan last Tuesday as a graft suspect. The KPK alleged violations of anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws.

The president said Friday that Gunawan’s appointment is “delayed, not canceled.”

Meanwhile the president gave an honorable discharge to the incumbent national police chief Sutarman. The president appointed the deputy police chief, Badrodin Haiti, to take over on an interim basis, the Jakarta Globe said.

“Because Commissioner General Budi Gunawan is facing a legal process,” Joko said, “I believe it is necessary to delay his appointment.”

“So it’s delayed, not canceled. That needs to be underlined,” the president said.

The KPK said its investigation was triggered in 2010 when Indonesia’s anti-money laundering watchdog — the Financial Transactions Report and Analysis Center (PPATK) — flagged Gunawan. The agency reportedly detected that $5.9 million had been deposited into and withdrawn from Gunawan’s bank accounts.

The PPATK said it sent its findings to the national police for further investigation.

At a press conference last week, the KPK accused Gunawan of accepting bribes when he was head of the career development bureau for the national police from 2003 until 2006.

Joko initially refused to withdraw Gunawan’s nomination after the KPK named him as a graft suspect. A growing public outcry finally forced the president to act.

In October, Joko announced that he couldn’t finish appointing his cabinet after the KPK rejected eight of his nominees.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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