The Indonesian Constitutional Court Chief of Justice – a Scandal

By Charlie Hartono - 12:26:00 pm

I. Chief of Justice - dishonourably discharged
As reported by the local and international mass media, Akil Mochtar the Indonesian Constitutional Court Chief of Justice was detained 2nd October 2013 by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) – an Indonesian independent ethics council. Mochtar who has just been selected by the House of Representatives last August 2013 was seized for allegedly accepting a bribe of about $260,000 aimed at influencing the subpoena being processed by the court over a polemicized result in a local election in Kalimantan province. In this wrongdoing, he was too purportedly committing money laundering.

Akil Mochtar – served as Chief of Justice of the Indonesian Constitutional Court. (Photo by Dany Permana / Tribunnews.com, 2013)
More surprisingly in the arrest, it was also reported that KPK’s team had found some drugs – ecstasy pills and marijuana in Mochtar’s office at the Constitutional Court. Immediately thereafter, he also showed inappropriate attitude towards one journalist who asked whether he remembered what he had said about corruptors’ fingers being cut off as a deterrent and how he felt about that now that he was a graft suspect. In that incident, he lost his temperament and slapped the inquiring journalist on the cheek. Ironically, this allegation of Mochtar coincided with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's campaign to fight the alleged misuse of public “money” and other forms of corruption.

II. States’ symbol tarnished
Aspect of statesmanship of the Constitutional Court judge which supposed to be placed in a very high and respectable position in the system was demolished just because a person's desire to enrich himself by abusing possessed power. Mochtar’s arrest has undeniably tarnished the dignity of the state symbol and merely weakened the credibility of the government of Indonesia. The Indonesian public’s confidence in the rule of law has even more collapsed, crushed, and shapeless. Nevertheless, the bold action taken by the KPK should be appreciated and needs to progressively roll over as the trenchant watchdog of the unprincipled government officials.

III. The consequences of unethical behaviour
As the consequence of his unethical behaviour, Mochtar has lost his integrity, which is the most valuable and important quality anyone can have in his life (Walton, 2006). The tainted money and his power just last for a temporary yet he has diminished himself from the network of people who trust him as a respectable person. Fundamentally, this disappointing scandal is also a disgrace to his family. It indeed brings deep psychologically pressure of his wife and children whereas they will experience deep sorrow, anger, embarrassed of performing their daily activities in their society.

IV. Integrity of the leaders 
Indonesia oftentimes included among the world's most-corrupt nations for many years. Last year, Transparency International ranked Indonesia 118th among 176 countries and territories on its Corruption Perception Index 2012.

Summing up and reflecting from Mochtar’s case, Indonesia desperately needs high integrity leaders who shall walk the talk, consistent between the words and actions, own high moral standard, be sincere and fully in control of their own behaviours (Low, 2013; Peterson and Seligman, 2004). Some scholars endorsed that with the upright character true leaders can incise significant change and inspire their surroundings with more fascinating visions. (Miller, 2011, p.183; Palanski & Yammarino, 2007; Brown and Trevin, 2006).

BBC. (2013). Indonesia arrests top judge on corruption charges. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24344995
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The New Zealand Herald. (2013). Top Indonesia judge arrested on suspicion of graft. Retrieved from: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11134318
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Zid (2013). Akil Mochtar Bukan Kader Golkar. Retrieved from: http://pekanbaru.tribunnews.com/2013/10/03/akil-mochtar-bukan-kader-golkar

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