Jokowi's police chief pick Budi Gunawan sworn in as deputy chief after graft row

JAKARTA - Indonesia President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's original nominee as national police chief formally became deputy police chief on Wednesday, after a protracted graft scandal that tested Jokowi's leadership and commitment to fight corruption in the country.

Commissioner General Budi Gunawan was officially sworn in during a closed-door ceremony at 2pm at the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta by the police chief, General Badrodin Haiti, the Jakarta Post reported.

Budi is a close associate of Jokowi's patron, former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, the newspaper noted. He is also close to Vice-President Jusuf Kalla and chairmen of major political parties.

Jokowi nominated Budi as the police chief in January, but withdrew the proposal after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) declared Budi a graft suspect.

The president's decision sparking threats of impeachment from many political parties - including from Jokowi's own coalition - who wanted to see Gunawan inaugurated.

Jokowi then named Badrodin as a replacement; the latter was approved by parliament earlier this month.

Members of parliament then called for Gunawan to be appointed deputy chief of police after the case against him was dropped by the anti-graft agency.

Anti-corruption activists, however, say the move would jeopardise reform in the police force, which is widely seen as one of the most corrupt institutions in Indonesia.

The KPK said it respects the appointment of Budi as deputy police chief.

"It is the authority and right of the National Police headquarters, in line with existing mechanisms in the police institution," acting KPK deputy chairman Johan Budi said in Jakarta on Wednesday, according to Antara news agency .

Badrodin, the police chief, dismissed concerns that he would be surbordinate to his newly-inaugurated but well-connected deputy.

"There won't be [two captains on one ship]. I'm the police chief, I hold the highest commanding authority. All should obey my instructions," Badrodin was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying on Wednesday.