JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An official of Indonesia’s top corruption-fighting body was arrested Friday, days after he said a national police chief hopeful was a graft suspect, sparking public demands for the country’s president to defend the body.
Bambang Widjojanto, 55, a deputy head of the Corruption Eradication Commission was arrested near the capital, Jakarta, for alleged false testimony when he was dealing with a regional election dispute as a lawyer before a court in 2010, said National Police spokesman Maj. Gen. Ronny Franky Sompie.
“We have enough evidence that he asked a witness to provide a false report before the court,” Sompie told reporters.
The arrest came after Widjojanto and commission head Abraham Samad declared that Lt. Gen. Budi Gunawan was a graft suspect, just a day before Parliament was to hold a confirmation hearing on his nomination. Parliament still endorsed his nomination.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo nominated Gunawan two weeks ago to be the next National Police chief to replace Gen. Sutarman, who retires in October. His candidacy has been challenged by anti-graft activists.
Last year, the commission started investigating $4.3 million in Gunawan’s bank accounts, and Widjojanto and Samad have said they have evidence the money might be related to criminal offenses such as bribes and gratuities.
Jokowi announced last week that he had postponed the decision to appoint Gunawan as police chief because he was being investigated by the commission.
Friday’s arrest sparked a public outcry, with negative comments posted on Twitter and Facebook, and more than 100 activists gathering at the commission office in Jakarta in support of the deputy, where they called on Jokowi to defend the corruption-fighting body.
Indonesia is often ranked by international observers as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The commission made powerful enemies putting scores of suspects on trial.