Webinar on “State Capture and Judicial Corruption in Indonesia”

In this webinar, Dr A’an Suryana explained why state capture continues to remain rampant in Indonesia. Using three case studies as exemplars of state capture in Indonesia, he highlighted key factors that could have attributed to these practices and explained why judicial corruption remains an uphill task to eradicate in Indonesia.


Monday, 2 November 2020 – ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute invited Dr A’an Suryana, ISEAS Visiting Fellow, to speak at a webinar on “State Capture and Judicial Corruption in Indonesia”. Dr Norshahril Saat, ISEAS Senior Fellow and Co-coordinator of Indonesia Studies Programme moderated the session.

Dr A’an Suryana
Dr A’an Suryana discussed key factors that could result in state capture and judicial corruption in Indonesia. The session was moderated by Dr Norshahril Saat. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

Dr A’an Suryana began the webinar by introducing key statistical data, concepts and definition of corruption and state capture in Indonesia. He argued that, while existing literature had identified key factors such personal integrity, corruption culture and monopoly of power as motivations driving corruption acts, the lack of institutional oversights in Indonesia could be the key factor that led to the corruption practices in Indonesia’s judicial system. He justified his arguments using three high profile corruption cases that took place in Indonesia over the past years: (1) Djoko Tjandra’s corruption case (2) Supreme Court Secretary Nurhadi’s bribery case and (3) Former Prosecutor Urip Tri Gunawan’s bribery case. In all three case studies, Dr A’an Suryana elaborated on the extent in which multiple stakeholders such as police, prosecutors and even judges were involved in these cases.

Dr A’an Suryana highlighted two key categories of institutional oversights that could have attributed to high profile corruption cases within the judicial system. The first factor looked at the inability to have an effective internal screening and reporting of wrongdoings within the judicial system. All three cases studies had instances whereby superiors of the three suspects would have known about their respective wrongdoings prior to their crackdowns and arrests. Dr A’an Suryana therefore argued that having an effective internal oversight would be the first gateway in preventing corruption practices within members of the judicial system.

The second factor focused primarily on the lack of an independent body to oversee the supreme court. While there are public agencies such as the police and the supreme court disciplinary board which were put in place to conduct proper checks and balances within the supreme court, the difficulty in maintaining neutrality especially when their colleagues were involved in these cases make it challenging for them to execute crackdowns. Dr A’an Suryana therefore concluded that state capture in Indonesia remains rampant primarily due to the lack of both independent and internal oversights. He also identified the need for both the government and the parliament to work together in strengthening judicial oversights. He proposed that laws should be issued to enhance the role of independent commissioners, thus enabling them to be independent parties that can objectively examine the judicial system for corruption practices.

The webinar drew an audience of 40 participants from both Singapore and abroad. The panel then discussed on a range of topics during the Question and Answer segment which included topics such as ways to reduce judicial corruption in Indonesia, the role of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in the identified corruption cases, the notion of who should be appointed to oversee the judicial system, the impacts of the Omnibus law on state capture and the power of media scrutiny in combating against corruption practices in Indonesia.

A total of 40 participants attended the webinar. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)