Anti-corruption efforts began in Indonesian in the 1950s. Following strong criticism of corruption at the beginning of the New Order regime in the late 1960’s a Commission of Four was established in 1970. It noted that corruption was “rampant”, but none of the cases it said were in need of urgent action were followed up. In 1999, laws were passed giving the Police and prosecution service the authority to investigate corruption cases. In 2002, Law No.30/2002 on the Corruption Eradication Commission was passed giving a legal basis for the establishment of the KPK.
The KPK vision is to free Indonesian from corruption. Its duties include investigating and prosecuting corruption cases and monitoring the governance of the state. It has the authority to request meetings and reports in the course of its investigations.It can also authorize wiretaps, impose travel bans, request financial information about suspects, freeze financial transactions and request the assistance of other law enforcement agencies.
The Commission has “confronted head-on the endemic corruption that remains as a legacy of President Suharto’s 32-year-long kleptocracy. Since it started operating in late 2003, the commission has investigated, prosecuted and achieved a 100-percent conviction rate in 86 cases of bribery and graft related to government procurements and budgets.”
KPK public education division official Budiono Prakoso said in December 2008 that because of its limited manpower and resources, of some 16,200 cases reported to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), only a small number had been dealt with.A large number of the solid reports informed the KPK of alleged cases of corruption and misuse of budget funds by government agencies at national and regional levels. “The main problem is the political will of the government at regional and national levels. Political will remains low. Everything is still at a lip-service level,” he said.
Bali Corruption Watch (BCW) head Putu Wirata Dwikora asked the KPK to investigate corruption cases in Bali, directly. He lamented the commission’s practice of handing over corruption cases in Bali to the local prosecutors office for further investigation. “The KPK should be directly involved in investigations to create a deterrent effect,” Putu said.
The success of the KPK using controversial tools like warrantless wiretaps, and its focus on high-level targets like “businessmen, bureaucrats, bankers, governors, diplomats, lawmakers, prosecutors, police officials and other previously untouchable members of Indonesian society,” have led to a backlash and attempts to undermine the Commission in Parliament.