Indonesia's credentials in terms of corruption eradication received another blow when Akil Mochtar, the chief justice of Indonesia's Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi), was detained by the country's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Wednesday evening (02/10). Allegedly, Mochtar accepted a bribe to influence the court's ruling on the Gunung Mas election dispute in Central Kalimantan. In this regional election, Hambit Bintih (together with Arton S. Dohong) was re-elected as district head of Gunung Mas.
After losing the election to Bintih, his rivals filed a law suit against the election result (and against the local General Elections Commission) as they suspected fraud. This case then came in the Constitutional Court, presided by Akil Mochtar, who was allegedly bribed to rule in Bintih's favour.
Moreover, on Thursday (03/10), another case involving Akil Mochtar came to the fore when Tubagus Chaeri Wardhana (husband of South Tangerang Mayor Airin Rachmy Diany and brother of Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosyiah) was arrested in a separate bribery case but also - allegedly - involving Mochtar. In this case (similar to the one in Central Kalimantan), Mochtar also accepted bribes to influence the court's ruling on an election dispute in the Lebak district (Banten, Java).
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed his shock and concern about these corruption cases as the Constitutional Court is the final and binding judicial institution in the country.
Corruption in Indonesia's public sector (in its legislative, executive and judiciary system) is a big problem. In the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International (which assesses "the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians"), Indonesia occupied the 118th place (out of a total of 176 countries). However, Indonesia does show a steady improvement in the index, coinciding with the Yudhoyono administration which started in 2004.
Regarding corruption there is still a long reform road ahead for Indonesia. Corruption hinders the country from realizing its economic potential and causes significant injustice in Indonesia's society as some people are disproportionally benefiting from a corrupt society. But credits have to be given to Indonesia's free media (although various media institutions are owned by politicians or businessmen with political interests and thus can influence the content of the news) and the KPK as both play a vital role in the reduction of corruption.