Ready for grilling: Tax corruption suspect Gayus H. Tambunan enters the National Police headquarters to face questioning in Jakarta, on Wednesday. Gayus surrendered to Indonesian police in Singapore on Tuesday. JP/Nurhayati
The case of Gayus H. Tambunan, a tax official the police arrested Wednesday on corruption charges, is expected to lead the way to the eradication of corrupt practice at tax offices.
Mas Achmad Santosa, member of the Judicial Anti-Corruption Taskforce, said that the police should act courageously and impartially in handling the high-profile case allegedly implicating senior officers and prosecutors.
“The investigation will be solely carried out by the police and we’ll closely watch the process,” Mas Achmad told The Jakarta Post. “We have the moral obligation.”
The taskforce, the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office have agreed to apply the legal system in the Gayus affair.
“The police have formed an independent team to handle the case. I believe they will do their job professionally,” Mas Achmad said.
A police observer from the University of Indonesia, Bambang Widodo Umar, said that the investigation should also unravel more corruption. “This is good momentum to reform the bureaucracy,” he said.
Gayus was arrested after the police tracked him down in Singapore, where he had traveled after the police began investigating into the origin of a suspicious Rp 28 billion (US$3.08 million) bank deposit in his account.
The police conducted an investigation after former police chief detective Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji revealed to the public that some senior police officers and prosecutors tampered in the outcome of Gayus’ trial.
On March 12, Tangerang District Court acquitted Gayus, who was tried on charges of money laundering and embezzlement.
Recently, police officers involved in Gayus’ investigation had claimed that only Rp 395 million of the
disputed Rp 28 billion was illegally received.
Officials suspect that the remaining amount may have been embezzled by police investigators and prosecutors.
Police on Tuesday arrested one police investigator, identified as Comr. Arafat, and Gayus’ lawyer Haposan Hutagalung.
Earlier, the police had arrested businessman Andi Kosasih on charges of providing a false testimony that he handed Gayus Rp 24 billion for a land business deal.
Prior to his escape to Singapore, Gayus had told the taskforce that he knew a number of tax officials
who were also involved in taxation corruption.
During his preliminary questioning Wednesday, Gayus told of where his Rp 28 billion fortune came from, according to Kastorius Sinaga, an advisor of National Police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri.
Kastorius said he was present at a questioning session in the evening along with the police team.
“He mentioned names of tax payers who gave him the money,” Kastorius said as quoted by detik.com.
In a related development, Brig. Gen. Edmond Ilyas, another officer who Susno accused of brokering Gayus’ case, was summoned for questioning by the police’s independent team Wednesday.
Edmond is currently Lampung Police chief and was director of economy at the National Police.
Along with fellow investigator Brig. Gen. Raja Erizman, he filed a defamation complaint against
“Ilyas is being questioned by the independent team,” said Brig. Gen. Yovianes Mahar, the National Police corruption eradication director.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang said that suspects Andi Kosasih, Haposan Hutagalung and Comr. Arafat had admitted collusion.
They used to meet in a five-star hotel located near the National Police, he said.
Regarding Comr. Arafat, Edward said the officer played a bigger role in the Gayus affair than previously believed.
Questioning Arafat has also led to the suspected involvement of another investigator that Edward only identified as “M”.