After accusing the government of spreading lies at the beginning of the year, the same group of religious leaders on Friday urged the nation’s antigraft body to investigate a growing number of corruption and abuse of power complaints they had received from the public.
The interfaith group delivered details of those complaints to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and also demanded the antigraft body continue to pursue all leads stemming from the case of former taxman Gayus Tambunan.
Gayus was jailed for seven years earlier this year on a graft charge.
Salahuddin “Gus Solah” Wahid, an Islamic leader from Nahdlatul Ulama, told reporters on Friday that while the Gayus case should still be a top priority for the KPK, the commission needed to focus on corruption and extortion by civil servants at the provincial and district level.
“We have received 88 complaints from the public from 13 districts and 26 percent of them are corruption cases,” Salahuddin said. “[There are also] extortion cases involving civil servant applicants.
“Other than urging the KPK to investigate Gayus’s corruption case, we also urge the KPK to investigate corruption at the provincial level, which might appear as small cases of corruption.”
He said some candidates for civil service jobs were allegedly asked to pay bribes to officials in order to have their applications processed.
Effendi Gozali, another member of the interfaith group, called on the KPK to investigate the 149 companies named by Gayus as alleged tax offenders.
Effendi was one of 25 members of the interfaith group to appear at the KPK on Friday, along with Salahuddin, NU deputy chairman Masdar Farid Mashudi and noted Muslim pluralist Ahmad Syafii Maarif.
On Sunday, political analysts said the increasing numbers of people channeling their complaints through religious leaders was a sign of distrust in the government, the legislature and law enforcement agencies.
“Society has lost its trust in the formal institutions such as the legislature and the National Police, which actually should side with the public,” said Ari Dwipayana, a political science professor at Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University.
“Therefore, nowadays, religious leaders have been taking an important role in society and this should be a warning for the government to improve its performance,” he said.
KPK chairman Busyro Muqqodas confirmed to reporters after the Friday meeting that the religious leaders delivered allegations of corruption in 13 districts. He declined to elaborate on the details.
“The visit from the religious leaders to report the allegations on corruption cases which harm society shows that the public trusts us to handle corruption cases in the country,” Busyro said.
He also called for the House of Representatives to proceed cautiously during its current revision of the 2002 law on the KPK so as not to weaken the commission’s ability to fight corruption.
“I hope the politicians see that the civil society has fully supported the KPK on handling corruption cases,” he said