Neneng took ‘illegal migrant route’ home
The tale of how graft fugitive Neneng Sri Wahyuni returned home from Malaysia has started to unravel as her lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea said that the woman followed a route normally taken by illegal migrant workers.
“She [Neneng] took the unofficial route into Indonesia. It is one of the routes taken by illegal Indonesian migrant workers,” Hotman told reporters on Friday at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office in Jakarta.
Meanwhile, according to the antigraft body, Neneng traveled by a small boat from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Batam, Riau Islands, on Tuesday. She stayed overnight in Batam.
Neneng, the wife of graft convict Muhammad Nazaruddin, then continued her journey by a Citilink plane to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, west of Jakarta, on Wednesday.
KPK investigators arrested Neneng at her residence in Pejaten, South Jakarta, later in the afternoon. Neneng was a suspect in a bribery scandal surrounding a Manpower and Transmigration Ministry solar power plant project in 2008.
Many believed Neneng had falsified her travel documents, considering that she could pass immigration checkpoints and could stay for almost one year overseas since she fled in May 2011.
Hotman said Neneng had taken the route. However, he denied that Neneng had falsified any documents.
“She did not bring any documents [on her way back to Indonesia], which means she did not falsify anything,” he said. “I don’t know anymore detail about it because that’s the entirety of what she told me.”
The KPK meanwhile said that during her journey back to Indonesia Neneng was accompanied by two Malaysian citizens who were allegedly assisting her.
The KPK said that the two Malaysian citizens, R. Azmi (previously referred to as Razmi) bin Muhammad Yusof and Hasan bin Kushi, could be charged with article 21 of the Anticorruption Law for obstructing investigation.
Hotman said Neneng did not know the Malaysians and added she was not accompanied by them on her way back to Indonesia.
“That’s not true; she [Neneng] did not know them and has never been in the same boat or plane.”
KPK spokesperson Johan Budi said the KPK believed that Neneng knew both Azmi and Hasan.
“We assume that they [Azmi and Hasan] were involved in obstructing the KPK’s investigation. We believe that they [Neneng and the two] know each other,” he told reporters late on Friday.
Question marks remain over the backgrounds of the two Malaysian citizens, particularly in relation to their agendas and roles.
Shortly after the arrest of Neneng on Wednesday, KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto said in a press conference that the men were advisers to the Malaysian state.
Malaysia’s top diplomat in Indonesia Dato Syed Munshe Afdzaruddin Bin Syed Hassan quickly responded to the news by visiting the KPK’s office on Thursday and clarified in a press conference that the men were not linked to any Malaysian royal family.
Afdzaruddin said that the Malaysian government had acquired Azmi and Hasan’s identity cards and was currently verifying their identities.
The KPK, meanwhile, has changed tack by saying that the two Malaysians were ordinary citizens and the commission was still investigating their role in Neneng’s escape.
The KPK named the two as suspects and detained them in separate detention cells on Thursday night.
Azmi is detained at the East Jakarta Police’s detention center while Hasan is at the Jakarta Police’s detention center.
The KPK had started a manhunt for Neneng as she allegedly bribed her way to winning a Manpower and Transmigration Ministry contract to procure Rp 8.9 billion (US$943,400) in solar power equipment in 2008.