JAKARTA - In a country where a new corruption scandal hits the headlines almost every week, a new online initiative is taking aim at Indonesia’s rampant culture of graft.
In its first week, Korupedia.com
has received two million hits.
Echoing a similar initiative in India called Ipaidabribe.com
, Indonesia’s new anti-graft website has listed 108 people convicted of graft.
The website includes details such as names, list of convictions, and photos of those convicted.
Erry Hardjapamekas, the former head of the Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission, says the public shame of being posted on the site is likely to deter future corrupters.
“Well, I think it is good as start. I think later we expect Korupedia will be the encyclopedia of corruption," explained Hardjapamekas, "but not only as a knowledge center, but also to remind everyone about all the corrupters that have been convicted and also the potential corrupters that are being investigated or prosecuted.”
According to Transparency International, Indonesia ranks 100 out of 183 nations of its Corruption Perception Index, making it more corrupt than India.
Despite significant business opportunity here, the ubiquity of corruption and paying bribes is one of the biggest barriers to foreigners doing business in Indonesia.
Although the foreign business community is likely to welcome the move, eradicating corruption will not happen overnight.
But analyst Keith Loverard of Concorde Consulting, a firm that advises foreign companies on doing business in Indonesia, says it is still a step in the right direction.
“The plus side is that you until have the formation of groups that do not allow governments, that do not allow individuals to ignore corruption and until that happens I doubt very much frankly that there will be very much changes," he noted. "So I see this as a very positive move for civil society developing a sort of moral conscience to act on this sort of drag or substance of the nation, as it were."
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono campaigned on a strong anti-graft campaign, but he has been widely criticized for failing to combat graft practices.
In April this year, the treasurer of the ruling Democratic Party Muhammad Nazaruddin was jailed for four years and 10 months in a bribery scandal. His trial has sparked further investigation into other senior government figures implicated in similar practices.
According to a Gallup poll released in October last year, about 91 percent of Indonesians believe corruption in government is widespread.