Indonesian anti-graft investigator Novel Baswedan defies acid-throwers | News | DW | 22.02.2018
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Indonesian anti-graft investigator Novel Baswedan defies acid-throwers

Indonesia's top anti-graft agent, half-blinded in an acid attack, has returned to work, telling colleagues to "stay brave." In a parallel gesture, President Joko Widodo has paid for a prized Danish-gifted Metallica LP.

Investigator Novel Baswedan was welcomed back to Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission in Jakarta by hundreds of supporters Thursday after 10 months of eye treatment in neighboring Singapore. 

"Let's stay focused. Stay brave," he told colleagues in a video posted online, adding that his still functioning right eye was "quite stable."

Whatever happens, God will show the path to truth," he added, "even though many people are trying to cover it [up]."

Read more: TI: More than two thirds of countries corrupt

Novel lost his left eyesight to acid in April last year when attackers struck as he left dawn prayers.

At the time, Novel had been heading a probe into a major political graft scandal. His attackers remain at large.

Novel, who is publicly known by his first name, said at Thursday's welcome he would undergo another round of surgery in April.

Funds siphoned off

Former speaker of the House of Representatives, Setya Novanto, is currently on trial for his alleged role in the siphoning off public funds from a project to introduce electronic identity cards to Indonesia.

He denies wrongdoing. Investigators allege 80 people, including legislators, officials and businessmen, were involved.

President buys back Metallica record

In an apparent anti-corruption gesture Thursday, a spokesman for President Joko Widodo said Indonesia's avowed heavy metal fan had paid 800 dollars (650 euros) for a special edition of "Master of Puppets," Metallica's third studio album.

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo saluting (Reuters/D. Whiteside)

Metallica fan: President Joko Widodo

The special edition vinyl LP, signed by the Danish band's drummer Lars Ulrich, was given to Joko by visiting Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen last November.

Spokesman Febri Diansyah said Joko first forwarded the gift to the Corruption Eradication Commission and then paid for the album out of his own pocket.

"Other officials should follow the president's example," Diansyah said.

The commission has often been under legislative attack by lawmakers who wanted to reduce its powers to tackle endemic corruption across Indonesia.

Ranked low

Indonesia was ranked 96th out of 180 nations on Transparency International's 2017 corruption perception index.

On a scale of zero for highly corrupt up to 100 for very clean, Indonesia scored a low 37.

Last October, Transparency urged anti-corruption agencies across the Asia Pacific region to start prosecuting the rich and powerful to gain credibility.

Political and government commitment was essential to ensure that agencies do their jobs effectively, Transparency said.

ipj/ng (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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