Indonesia's anti-graft chief slams photos of man resembling him kissing beauty queen

JAKARTA - Photographs of a kissing couple, who resemble Indonesia's anti-graft chief and a young beauty queen, have gone viral a day after the anti-graft agency named the president's nomination for police chief a bribery suspect.

The photos show a man who looks like Mr Abraham Samad, head of the anti-corruption commission (KPK), kissing a young woman who resembles 20-year-old beauty queen Elvira Devinamira Wirayanti.

Four photos were emailed to several mainstream media in Indonesia on Wednesday and passed on via journalists' WhatsApp chat groups.  

"That is defamation. The photos could have been doctored," detik news website quoted Mr Abraham - who is married - as saying.

Calls made to Mr Abraham by The Straits Times were diverted to another number and were unanswered. He also did not reply to phone text messages seeking clarification.

The photos went viral a day after KPK named influential police general Budi Gunawan a suspect in a  corruption case. The three-star police general has been proposed by President Joko Widodo to Parliament to be the next national police chief.

"Declaring me as a corruption suspect is a character assassination and an insult to the police force as an institution," Gen Budi told a parliament hearing on Wednesday which was broadcast live on national television. He was attending a scheduled fit-and-proper test at the legal and security parliament committee. 

KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto, speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday flanked by Mr Abraham, said General Budi has been under KPK investigation since June 2014 and the anti-graft agency recently obtained two sets of evidence of corruption against him. The agency had asked the immigration office to ban Gen Gunawan from travelling overseas. 

Indonesian laws require investigators to have at least two sets of evidence before they can accuse anyone of any crime, including corruption.

Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto told reporters on Tuesday that President Jokowi will consider whether to retract Gen Budi's name or to submit a new candidate for police chief.

President Joko told reporters on Monday that he chose Gen Gunawan on the recommendation of the National Police Commission. Gen Gunawan is close to Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri, former president and leader of the President's political party PDI-P.

The Indonesian president did not ask KPK to vet his choice of police chief, even though similar action was taken for his Cabinet picks.

The anti-graft agency has the power to investigate, detain and file charges against suspects, who are then tried in a special anti-corruption court.

In October, the president asked the agency to screen potential members of his cabinet and it rejected eight of them.

wahyudis@sph.com