Blinded investigator to Indonesia graft fighters: Stay brave
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An anti-corruption investigator blinded by an acid attack is urging graft fighters to “stay brave” as he returns to Indonesia after months of medical treatment.
Activists dressed in white and a phalanx of officials greeted Novel Baswedan as he arrived Thursday at the headquarters of the Corruption Eradication Commission in the capital, Jakarta.
Baswedan was leading a probe into an epic graft scandal that has implicated prominent politicians when he was attacked last April as he left dawn prayers. No one has been arrested and Baswedan has criticized police handling of the investigation.
“Whatever happens, God will show the path of truth, even though many people are trying to cover it,” he said in a video posted online.
“I call on my friends, activists, law enforcers and people in charge of eradicating corruption, let’s stay focused, stay brave. Don’t be afraid, don’t hesitate, stay strong.”
Baswedan said his right eye is now “quite stable” but he cannot see from his left eye. He expects to travel frequently to Singapore for further medical treatment in preparation for another major operation.
Anti-corruption investigators allege that about 80 people, mostly officials and legislators, and several companies used the introduction of a $440 million electronic identity card system in 2011 and 2012 to steal more than a third of the funds.
Senior Golkar party politician and former speaker of parliament Setya Novanto is currently on trial for his alleged role in the theft of public money. He denies any wrongdoing.
Corruption is endemic in Indonesia and the anti-graft commission, one of the few effective institutions in the country of more than 250 million people, is frequently under legislative attack by lawmakers who want to reduce its powers.
Laode Syarif, a commissioner at the anti-graft agency, told the crowd that gathered to welcome Baswedan that the agency should not step back from its mission because of the attack.
“We will keep fighting,” he said.