October 21, 2014 / 5:44 AM / 4 years ago

Indonesian president ponders some cabinet picks on anti-graft concern

JAKARTA (Reuters) - New Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday he was re-evaluating some of his choices for cabinet jobs after an anti-graft agency raised concern about possible problems with some candidates.

Indonesia's new President Joko Widodo shouts "Merdeka" or Freedom at the end of his speech, during his inauguration at the House of Representative building in Jakarta, October 20, 2014. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Widodo, who won a closely fought July election on promises of clean government, will want to avoid the same type of corruption scandals that tainted his predecessor’s final term in office. Three of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s ministers were implicated in corruption cases.

Widodo, who took office on Monday, submitted a list of candidates to fill his cabinet of 33 ministers to two government watchdogs. The list has not been made public.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) considered some candidates on Widodo’s list “problematic” or “potentially problematic”, Zulkarnain, the KPK’s deputy chairman, was quoted as saying in the Jakarta Post newspaper on Tuesday.

When asked if he had to re-evaluate any of his nominations after the findings of the commission, Widodo told reporters: “It looks like it has to be like that.”

He declined to identify the problematic candidates.

Widodo had been expected to announce his cabinet as early as Tuesday. He has said he would have 18 technocrats and 15 political appointees in the line-up.

It was not clear when the team would be announced.

Officials from the KPK were not immediately available for comment.

It was not clear if the second anti-graft agency considering cabinet nominations, the Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, also raised concerns. Center officials were not available for comment.

All eyes are on Widodo’s choices to head the main economic ministries. They will inherit problems in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy ranging from a widening current account deficit and cooling investment to the slowest growth since 2009.

Widodo has been tight lipped on his cabinet picks, but two advisers told Reuters on Saturday that former Astra International chief Rini Soemarno was expected to be minister for state-owned enterprises.

Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Robert Birsel

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