It was still 2:30 a.m. when a group of 10 men arrived at a major magazine and newspaper distribution outlet in Harmoni, Central Jakarta, on Monday.
“We want to buy all copies of this magazine,” one of them said, pointing at a copy of Tempo weekly newsmagazine with the cover story, “Police officers’ fat bank accounts”.
The men ended buying 2,425 copies of the magazine.
“They were policemen. They insisted on buying our entire stock, no matter what the price,” Rozak, one of the sellers, said.
Rozak inflated the price to Rp 40,000 (US$4.44) from the regular Rp 27,000 per copy.
“They paid almost Rp 100 million in cash,” Rozak told news portal tempointeraktif.com.
Another distributor in Senen, also in Central Jakarta, told a similar story.
“A man bought 1,200 copies of Tempo magazine here. That’s all I had.
“He came in on a bajaj [three-wheeled taxi] very early this morning. I saw he had a gun,” a vendor was quoted as saying by news portal detik.com.
Reports say other distribution centers outside Jakarta were also running out of copies of the magazine.
A distributor in Bandung, West Java, reported that all the 1,100 copies of Tempo he had were sold out before 9 a.m.
The magazine ran stories covering suspicious bank accounts of high-ranking police officers as its cover story, a controversial issue that has been in the spotlight for quite some time.
The magazine reported that at least seven high-ranking police officers were hoarding billions of rupiah in their bank accounts, transferred from third parties.
The seven officers include Insp. Gen. Budi Gunawan, the head of the police internal affairs division and a former adjutant to the president during Megawati Soekarnoputri’s administration, East Kalimantan Police chief Insp. Gen. Mathius Salempang, former police Mobile Brigade chief Insp. Gen. Sylvanus Yulian Wenas and police School for Leadership (Sespim) lecturer Insp. Gen. Bambang Suparno.
Semarang Police chief and former West Jakarta Police chief, Sr. Comr. Edward Syah Pernong, and the former section head of the vehicle registration (STNK) department of the Makasar Police, Sr. Comr. (ret.) Umar Leha, as well as troubled former National Police chief detective Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji are also on the list.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang denied the police had bought the magazine.
“We have 406,000 personnel nationwide, why should we be bothered by such a potboiler?” he told The Jakarta Post.
Edward said he had read the magazine and found nothing to worry about.
“My question is where did they get the data from? If it is from the PPATK [Financial Transaction Analysis and Report Center], it would be illegal, because PPATK data is confidential.”
A document said to be released by the PPATK and obtained by the Post stated that Budi and his son allegedly conducted suspicious transactions between 2005 and 2008.
A number of businesspeople frequently transferred money to his bank accounts, the document said.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman Haryono Umar said the commission was also investigating Budi’s bank accounts.
“We will seek clarification of Budi Gunawan’s wealth disclosure report,” Haryono said, adding that there was huge disparity between Budi’s wealth declaration and the accounts.
Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) chairman Neta S. Pane, meanwhile, said the revelation of bank accounts allegedly belonging to high-ranking officers was linked to the “competition for the National Police
“I see a motive to tarnish the image of certain figures. We know that some officers whose bank accounts are listed in the magazine are also potential candidates for National Police chief,” he said.
National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri ends his tenure in October. (ipa)