Where it all started: Former central bank deputy governor Aulia Tantowi Pohan (center) is dragged by the police to a court hearing, in this file photo taken on June 17, 2008, where he was sentenced to four years in jail for using funds from a central bank foundation to bribe lawmakers. Aulia is the father-in-law of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s eldest son. The prosecution of Aulia by the KPK is believed to have caused deep resentment among Yudhoyono’s family towards the corruption watchdog. JP/J. Adiguna
A leaked voice recording allegedly of National Police chief detective Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji during a meeting with officials of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) reveals irregularities involving the embattled police general.
The recording, obtained by The Jakarta Post recently, is allegedly a wire-tapped conversation between Susno and KPK deputy chairman M. Jasin and other officials during a meeting in early October.
The meeting was aimed at soothing the strained relations between the police and the KPK.
Jasin told the Post that a meeting did take place, and was widely reported in the media. However, he did not know if it was bugged.
Susno, however, refused to comment on the issue when the Post interviewed him during an inauguration ceremony of high-ranking police officers on Friday.
“I don’t know about the recording. I cannot comment,” he said.
In the tape, Susno allegedly questioned that the KPK received transaction records of his bank accounts, and those of his children, from money laundering watchdog PPATK.
The records were of an unspecified case affecting him between 2007 and present.
“I used to serve as PPATK deputy chairman. It would be foolish of me to be implicated in dirty transactions,” said Susno, accompanied by his staff Insp. Gen. Edmond Ilyas.
“Before I served as chief detective, I did numerous [business] transactions in relation to selling houses and land. If I had not done so I would be dead [poor].”
Susno argued that for PPATK to pass on the records of these transactions was an abuse of power, because the watchdog was not authorized under existing laws to share any information, except with the police.
The decision by the watchdog to share these records was based on an MoU between PPATK and the KPK.
“The aim of the MoU was to smoothen the KPK investigation. But this should not put other people at a disadvantage.”
“I am the one who is being put at a disadvantage. But it’s okay ... I’m just worried if the records reach lawmakers in the House of Representatives.”
Susno said he had tried to contact PPATK chairman Yunus Husein for clarification, but to no avail.
“I tried to call Pak Yunus to ask whether the PPATK has leaked the records. But he wouldn’t return my call. I know he has high blood pressure so I did’nt want to force the issue for fear he would be in shock.”
In the record, Susno also allegedly claims he is already wealthy, having made his money by legal means.
He said that due to his wealth he was able to eliminate illegal fees at all levels of the police headquarters in West Java in relation to the processing of driving licenses.
In exchange, he said, he had given his staff extra remuneration from his own pocket.
“If you don’t have money, don’t be a regional police chief,” he said.
Susno said that he gained his wealth through the coal business in his hometown in South Sumatra, now run by his children.
According to Susno, he has 2,000 hectares of coal concessions with a reserve of around 40 million tons.
“For every 1 ton I get a profit of $30. Count that. Did I hide this kind of transaction? This is not in my name but [those] of my children.”
“We cannot be clean if we don’t have enough. [Otherwise] what will happen is we will seek other [illicit] sources to fulfill our needs,” he said.
Susno also strongly challenged the KPK to probe him on any alleged kickback concerning Bank Century.
“There should not be any impression that the KPK does not have the courage to probe me. I will gladly come to clarify the case,” said Susno.
“I even know that my photos are already here. I’ve questioned the police officers here (assigned to help KPK) for not arresting me and they said they did not have the courage to do so.”
The KPK has been probing Susno after the wiretapping of his mobile phone suggested he allegedly tried to get a commission from businessman Boedi Sampoerna for releasing the latter’s deposits stuck in legal limbo in Bank Century.
However, it remains unclear as to why the KPK delayed the investigation of this case and to date Susno has not been summoned on this.
Almost boastfully, Susno said in the tape that the wire-taps could have remained concealed if KPK had been more competent. He suggested, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that KPK could benefit from police wiretapping facilities and training.
“Please use our facility if you want to wiretap someone. Our facility can cover the entire country. Email tapping is also available for use. It would be wasteful if these facilities remained idle,” he said.
He suggested the wiretapping by the KPK in the Bank Century case was misleading because as detective chief it would be unthinkable to seek a kickback in such a blatant way.
“I am the granddaddy of wiretapping and catching people,” said Susno, suggesting to the KPK that such wiretapping could easily be noticed.
For Susno, that meeting was a brief moment of triumph in what has been described as a witch-hunt against the KPK which has now seen two of its deputies, Chandra M. Hamzah and Bibit S. Rianto suddenly detained on Thursday on allegations of abuse of power, bribery and extortion involving businessman Anggoro Widjojo.
In the tape, Susno also denied any move by the police to plot a criminal case against Chandra and Bibit.
He said the police had no intention in any way of undermining or competing with the KPK because the core business of the police was not in fighting corruption but in tackling other crimes such as terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal logging, and transnational crime.
“I was involved in setting up the KPK. I was among the people preparing the study for the need to set up the agency. And I have more friends here [in the KPK] than in the police force,” he said.
— JP/Rendi A. Witular and Ika Krismantari