Indonesia’s anti-graft chairman named suspect in corruption case

A man wearing a mask depicting Firli Bahuri, Chair of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), carries a placard reading "Congratulations on determining Firli as a suspect" during a protest outside the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building in Jakarta, Indonesia, November 23, 2023. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

The chairman of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission has been named a suspect in a graft case, the first time a sitting leader of the agency was implicated in corruption, according to Bloomberg.

Firli Bahuri, 60, is suspected of extortion and receiving gratuities in handling legal matters involving the Ministry of Agriculture from 2020 to 2023, police said in a statement late Wednesday, citing results of an investigation. 

This is the first time a leader of the anti-graft agency locally known as KPK was implicated in corruption since its establishment two decades ago. Bahuri wasn’t immediately available for comment, after denying the allegations and calling them a form of retaliation from corruption suspects in an earlier press conference.

Investigators have seized documents that include foreign exchange transactions in Singapore and US dollars with a total value of 7 billion rupiah ($450,000) from February 2021 to September 2023, the police said. 

Authorities didn’t say whether they will detain Bahuri. The law requires him to be removed from his position during the investigation.

Indonesia ranks 110th out of 180 countries monitored by watchdog group Transparency International, citing bribery, judicial corruption and conflicts of interest in the world’s fourth-most populous country.