Prosecutor caught red-handed in extortion
Like something out of an action film, the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and officers from the Riau Islands Police caught and arrested a prosecutor from the Batam Prosecutor’s Office in the act of accepting cash amounting to Rp 200 million (US$22,284) in bribe money.
The prosecutor, identified as Jufrizal, was arrested at the Batam Industrial Development Authority (BIDA) office in Batam on Wednesday night after accepting the money, which was packed in an Indomie noodle box.
Jufrizal, whom many onlookers thought was a thief, waved a firearm toward the people who were chasing him.
The FPI Riau Islands’ advisory council coordinator, Nur Suparman, said on Thursday that the chain of events began when his son, Ali Akbar, was asked by prosecutors to pay them money in connection to the construction of one his development projects in Nongsa district.
Ali told his father that the prosecutors had asked for Rp 400 million from the project’s total costs, which amounted to Rp 900 million, to be paid by the project’s consultancy, chaired by Ali, its contractor and staff from the local Public Works Agency.
“After negotiations, the prosecutor who had requested the money agreed to be paid Rp 200 million in return for not bringing a case about the project to court,” Suparman said, without giving details about the case.
“I told my son not to pay [the money]. If he had done so, it would have meant my son was guilty [of something],” Suparman said.
A key point is that the project, which was financed from 2011 budget funds, had already been completed and handed over to the Batam City administration.
Suparman said that the extortion case was later disclosed to FPI chairman Habib Rizieq when he visited Batam two days ahead of the arrest, at which point, the blackmailed parties agreed to foil the crooked prosecutors.
For the collection, the prosecutors had assigned Jufrizal to fetch the money from Ali, in a handover scheduled to take place at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
At the time of the handover, Ali was monitored by 12 FPI members, as well as police officers in two parked cars not far from the BIDA park.
Jufrizal later arrived by motorbike, followed by two cars containing his prosecutor colleagues.
As soon as the money changed hands, the FPI members and police officers surrounded Jufrizal, who tried to run away.
He threw down the box and ran in the direction of the Batam Center ferry port while waving his pistol.
Jufrizal’s colleagues tried to retrieve him but failed and decided to flee.
“They [prosecutors] sped off in the two cars as soon as Jufrizal was arrested,” Suparman said.
The deputy director of Riau Islands’ Police detective unit, Adj. Comr. Wiyarso, said his subordinates were preparing reports on the extortion case. “We’re still questioning the suspect, witnesses and the victims,” he said.
Head of the Batam Prosecutor’s Office special crimes section, Abdul Farid, said he had not received any notification from the police about the arrest. He admitted Jufrizal was one of the prosecutors at his office.
“I met him at the office on Wednesday morning. There hasn’t been any report from the police about the
extortion case,” Abdul said.