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NEWS UPDATES 6 July 2010

Police corruption probe in Indonesia

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The President has ordered the police to investigate senior officers' implausibly large bank accounts, while questions remain on how an impartial probe can take place, the Jakarta Post reports.

While opening a Cabinet meeting on Monday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he had received abundant text messages, complaints and requests to settle the issue of 21 high-ranking police officers whose bank accounts were regarded suspicious by the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK).

"Please respond to this, please settle the matter and manage it well. If there are legal violations, then punish them," Yudhoyono told the meeting, which was also attended by the National Police chief.

"If there are no violations, then explain this to the public," he said.

National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri said "a special team" would be in charge of the probe of his subordinates, in response to suggestions that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigate the police officers' billion-rupiah bank accounts.

Bambang said after the meeting that the police would offer a public explanation of the suspicious bank accounts next week.

"This involves our internal affairs," said National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri. National Police chief detective Comr. Gen. Ito Sumardi previously said detectives had been seeking clarification from the 21 officers.

Ito said earlier that one officer, Insp. Gen. Budi Gunawan, who allegedly amassed Rp 95 billion (US$10.45 million) in two bank accounts, had "legally collected the money from his legal businesses".

Ito had also said the highest take home pay in the police force, that of the police chief, was Rp 23 million.

In contrast to Bambang's dismissal of recommendations that the KPK investigate the case, National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang said it would be no problem. Members of the Press Council have said they will advise the police and Tempo to resolve their dispute amicably and out of court, as the Press Law prescribes.

"A win-win solution is more preferable to bringing the case to the court," Bambang said Monday. "We will settle the case in good will," Bambang said.

On Police Anniversary Day on Thursday, Bambang said he regretted that the magazine used pigs, which are haram or forbidden in Islam, to depict police officers.

"We are ordinary human beings. If you want to criticize us, don't do it like that," he told the press.

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