President Jokowi may have to give up the Metallica box set gifted to him by the Danish PM

Indonesian President Joko Widodo being presented with a Metallica box set by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Photo: @larsloekke / Twitter
Indonesian President Joko Widodo being presented with a Metallica box set by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Photo: @larsloekke / Twitter

One of the idiosyncratic details about Joko Widodo that endeared him to younger Indonesians during his meteoric rise from mayor of Solo to governor of Jakarta and finally to president of Indonesia is his well-documented love of heavy metal music, particularly the band Metallica. But President Jokowi also has a reputation for being one of the country’s cleanest politicians, and, once again, that will likely prevent him from enjoying a hardcore heavy metal musical gift.

Yesterday, President Jokowi concluded a state visit from the prime minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, by presenting Rasmussen with an ornamental rencong, a type of traditional blade from Aceh. In return, the Danish PM presented Jokowi with a deluxe box-set edition of Metallica’s classic album Master of Puppets signed by the band’s Danish drummer,  Lars Ulrich.

“Prime Minister Rasmussen knows my favorite, Metallica,” Jokowi told reporters with a smile as he showed off his present, as quoted by Kompas.

While it was a very thoughtful gift from the Danish PM, there’s unfortunately a chance that President Jokowi won’t be able to keep it for himself as it technically constitutes a form of gratification that must legally be reported to the country’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

The law is to prevent politicians from receiving gifts that could be considered a form of bribery, and while it’s quite obvious the Danish PM was not attempting to buy Jokowi’s favor with his gift, it applies nonetheless.

After the KPK noted in a statement today that it had yet to receive a report about the box set from Jokowi, presidential spokesperson Johan Budi SP said that the report would be submitted soon, well within the 30-day deadline required by the commission.

“The president plans to report the acceptance of gifts in the form of LPs Metallica from the Danish Prime Minister to the Commission in the near future,” Budi said today as quoted by Detik.

The law allows for customary gifts worth less than IDR 1 million (US$75) to not be reported but, according to the Metallica website, the most expensive version of the Master of Puppets deluxe box set costs US$99, although with Lars Ulrich’s signature Jokowi’s set could likely be sold for far more.

After gifts are reported to the KPK, the commission has 30 days to assess whether the recipient can keep the gift or whether it should be donated to the state. Monetary value is only one factor in their decision.

So there’s a chance Jokowi may be able to keep the box set. But it seems unlikely, given that in 2013, while he was governor of Jakarta, he had to turn over a guitar gifted to him by Metallica’s bass player, Robert Trujillo, which included a personal message saying, “Giving back! To Jokowi. Keep playing that cool funky bass.” The guitar is currently sitting on display in KPK headquarters along with other gifts to politicians that were judged to be in violation of corruption laws.

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