Papua Police replace 23 regency chiefs
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The Papua Police have launched an overhaul of their institution in the provinces of Papua and West Papua by replacing 23 out of 29 police regency heads.
The major restructuring was conducted by Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian, who was installed as the new Papua Police chief, replacing Brig. Gen. Lumban Tobing at the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta on Sept. 21.
Tito said at the joint installation ceremony in Jayapura on Monday that aside from being used to refresh the institution, the major restructuring was also intended to help support the fight against rampant corruption in Papua.
“This is only to refresh because there are many regency police chiefs who have held their current positions for a long time, while at the same time there are many young and clever officers who have to be given a chance,” Tito said.
“Our focus is on the rotation of office, but in every briefing they will be continuously reminded to help the fight against corruption,” he said.
In a coordination meeting with heads of detective and crime units of all the 29 police units throughout Papua and West Papua in Jayapura on Oct. 16, Tito reminded them that each police units had to be serious about uncovering corrupt practices in both Papua and West Papua provinces because rampant corruption had caused Papuans to suffer.
Post-New Order Indonesia resolved half of the Herculean job of keeping Papua as part of Indonesia through issuing the province special autonomy in 2001, which was intended to allow Papua to enjoy and manage the lion’s share of its revenue from natural resources.
But the redistribution of wealth has failed to materialize as most of the huge funds have been wasted — or embezzled by the local elites — as is evident by the fact that Papua and West Papua remain the most disadvantaged regions, mostly because of Jakarta’s poor supervision and, more importantly, ignorance.
The government is set to do more for Papua in the future, including renegotiating mining contracts with large-scale companies operating in the province.
The central government is also due to raise special autonomy funding for Papua to Rp 4.3 trillion (US$450.5 million) next year from this year’s Rp 3.10 trillion, and to Rp 1.8 trillion for West Papua from this year’s Rp 1.33 trillion.
“There is a lot of money being allocated for Papua and West Papua, but the fact is that most Papuan people, especially those inland and in remote areas, still live in poverty. There must be something wrong, so the police branches have to focus on uncovering allegations of fund misuse,” he said.
Tito’s remarks were warmly welcomed by the head of the Papua Church Leaders Forum (PGGP) Lipius Binilux. “In my capacity as head of PGGP, I fully support the commitment of the Papua Police chief to fight against corruption,” he said.
He said Papuan people had lost trust in Jakarta because it allowed rampant corruption practices to continue in Papua.
“I have thought that Jakarta was maybe allowing Papua to go to the brink of destruction. Uncontrollable corrupt practices are taking place in front of our eyes and are real, but there isn’t any action [to curb them]. I hope the Papua Police chief’s commitment to fight against corruption will be able to revive the Papuan people’s trust in Jakarta,” Lipius said.
Lipius asked the police to proceed with questioning officials in Papua even if the individual suspected of being involved in corruption made threats that his or her followers would become angry with the individual being questioned.
“It is only an excuse from the official to clear up his or her wrongdoings. Pak [Mr.] Kapolda [police chief], don’t be afraid. I’m ready to support you. Wipe corruption out of Papua to enable the Papuan people to distance themselves from suffering,” he said.
Out of the 23 newly installed regency police chiefs, there was Adj. Sr. Comr Esterlina Sroyer, who has been promoted as the new Bian Numfor regency police chief and at the same time is the first woman police chief in Papua.
“This shows appreciation toward policewomen,” Lipius said.