Indonesia’s croc cop says graft is systemic

An Indonesian police general who is bitter at being overlooked for promotion and humiliated over corruption allegations is taking revenge on his bosses by telling tales about the extent of graft across all levels of Indonesian government.

Disgraced former chief detective Susno Duadji once cynically mocked anti-graft fighters to “geckos” compared to the “crocodiles” in the police force. He seemed to think this was funny but it only confirmed what most Indonesians think about the reptilian nature of their law enforcers.

As I’ve mentioned before, Susno is battling to rescue his career by hook or by crook. Failing that, he seems intent on bringing down as many of his enemies in the police force as he can take with him. It all makes for fascinating reading.

In his latest revelations, he says most people involved in Indonesia’s legal system were on the take, part of a “mafia” that provides justice to the highest or best-connected bidder. Corruption is so pervasive that investors cannot have any confidence that they won’t be robbed by officials, he concludes.

This problem is everywhere. It’s in the attorney general’s office, the courts, the lawyers, the tax department and also customs. It is also in the forestry industry and now there is a mining mafia too. Everyone gets paid. Even the notary.

This means there is no legal certainty and foreign investors won’t want to come to our country.

On the police:

It starts from recruitment. You pay to join (the police). Then if you want to become a sergeant, you must pay about 50 million rupiah ($5,552). Then if you want a good position and you don’t want to be sent to a remote area, you have to pay again. To keep paying like this, the policeman has to keep looking for money.

So it’s not surprising that Susno thinks his enemies in the police force are trying to kill him. He employs a food taster to make sure he’s not being poisoned.

Analysts who rush to praise Indonesia as a “normal country”, and Indonesian ministers who sell the myth of a clean and reformist nation, should take careful note of what Susno has to say.

(Photo courtesy of Nevit Dilmen via Creative Commons)

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