In a special ceremony at the National Palace in Jakarta on Friday, May 4, 2005, President Susilo Bambang Yudhhoyono installed the 48 members of a newly-formed Coordination Team for the Elimination of Corruption (Tim Task Tipikor) which will be chaired by a Special Prosecutor, Hendarman Supandji. Widely seen as an important step forward in President Yudhoyono’s pledge to fight corruption, the Anti-Corruption Team includes specially selected members drawn from the police services and the State Audit Board. The elite group will report directly to the President.
The Presidential mandate handed to the Anti-Corruption Team empowers its members to investigate and charge corruptors under existing laws as well as take all necessary legal steps to protect and reclaim national assets now in the hands of corruptors. The President told the newly-appoint corruption fighters that their's was a difficult but sacred task - and their work will help restore the honor and trust needed between the Country, the Government and People. The group is also charged to keep the President constantly informed on their progress, filing a formal report to the President, Attorney General, Chief of Police and the State Audit Board every three months.
Tasking the Team to move on corruptors currently on the run from the Indonesian police, the President set the tone of the future work of the group instructing them to "speak little and work much." The President went on to say, "Your duty is to achieve the target of fighting corruption. You need not give speeches, run seminars or appear on talk shows in the mass media."
Cautioning the team members not to fall prey to corruption in the course of their duties, the President said, “Fortify yourself and your families. Don't fall prey to temptation and follow corrupt practices. Hold sacred your oath. Protect yourself and your families from all kinds of attacks."
In assuming the job of the Special Prosecutor heading the Anti-Corruption Team, Hendarman Supandji said his first step would be to clean up any corrupt practices surrounding the Presidential Palace, the Cabinet Secretariat and the National Secretariat. At the same time, he pledged his team would attack the special task given them by the President to clean-up 16 state-owned enterprises, 4 departments, 3 private corporations and 12 fugitive corruptors presently evading arrest. A special sub-unit from the Coordinating Minister for Law and Order have been designated to assist the Anti-Corruption team in efforts to capture corruptors, currently living abroad as fugitives.
Insisting he did not want to see his position dissolve into a slogan-only campaign against corruption, Special Prosecutor Hendarmin Supandji, told the press that before accepting the appointment he had asked the President what would happen if his investigations discovered corruption involving friends of the President or his assistants? The President told Hendarmin that regardless of whomever was found to be involved in corruption, he should carry on with his duties.
Saying that the public was fed up with corruption, Hendarmin asked the president to be even-handed and never apply a double standard in fighting corruption. Hendarmin reportedly told the President not to only take action against his enemies, but that he must also be prepared to move against friends, colleagues and family relations.
Claiming he has "nothing to lose" in fighting corruption, the 25-year veteran from the Attorney General's office who was once given an official award from the Government for being energetic and honest, explained that prior to his most recent appointment he "was drowning" in various bureaucratic roles in his department and his latest appointment will allow him to cap his career by performing a lasting and meaningful service to the Nation.
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