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The endgame: A documentary on the staff crisis at KPK


The endgame: A documentary on the staff crisis at KPK

An authentic account of the commitment and reflections of those whose reputation and livelihood is threatened by a law stripping the Indonesian Anti-Corruption Commission of its independence. – The sense of belonging and hope that an institution’s cause can give to employees and what they are willing to commit in return.
31 August 2021

People supporting KPK

KPK's successful work generated public support for the commission.

Credit: The Endgame (Watchdoc) copyrighted

The Endgame (2021) Youtube (1hr 54 mins)

The Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has grown into an example of a powerful and widely trusted anti-corruption agency since the start of its operations in 2004.

800 senior businesspersons and government officials had been convicted and imprisoned because of KPK's work by late 2020. This brought the commission public support. But like so many other anti-corruption agencies, it has also faced considerable resistance in different forms:

The new law in 2019 effectively stripped the KPK of autonomy in important investigative functions and in its human resources management. Under that law, the KPK must be integrated into the state apparatus by September 2021, and its employees must become regular civil servants.

As part of the transferal, important KPK staff have been ‘screened out’ through a dubious testing process.

U4 senior adviser and former KPK employee Sofie Schuette has blogged and talked about these developments, referring to international principles for anti-corruption authorities that the KPK once played a decisive role in formulating. (You can also hear Schuette's analysis in a September 2021 podcast episode).

The Indonesian Ombudsman and the Indonesian Human Rights Commission have since investigated the process and recommended the reinstallation of all suspended staff.

In June 2021, Watchdoc – known for its critical socio-political features – released a documentary with interviews of several of the KPK staff facing dismissal: The Endgame – watch it on Youtube.

The documentary has several million views, as it provides a very authentic account of the commitment and reflections of those whose reputation and livelihood is threatened. It also provides a glimpse of the sense of belonging and hope the cause of an institution can provide to its employees and what these employees are willing to commit in return. In August 2021, Watchdoc won the renowned Asian Ramon Magsaysay Award for its documentary filmmaking.

U4 has published research on Indonesia and KPK on many occasions. In fact, we collaborated with KPK’s Research and Development Unit on an analysis of corruption cases in the forestry sector, and we will continue to analyse and seek lessons from developments in Indonesia.

The Endgame (2021) Youtube (1hr 54 mins)


Selected U4 publications on KPK and Indonesia

Tackling forestry corruption in Indonesia

Corrupt networks in the Indonesian forestry sector. Politics and pulp in Pelalawan, Riau

Specialised anti-corruption courts: Indonesia

An exception to the rule? Why Indonesia's Anti-Corruption Commission succeeds where others don't - a comparison with the Philippines' Ombudsman


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    This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)