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Jakarta Post

Clean up the mess

  • Editorial Board

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, August 1, 2020   /   07:55 am
Clean up the mess Bank Bali fugitive Djoko Tjandra is escorted to the National Police's Criminal Investigation Unit (Bareskrim) headquarters in Jakarta on Thursday (07/30/2020). (Antara/Muhammad Adimaja)

Finally, long-time fugitive Djoko S. Tjandra could no longer evade arrest. Handcuffed and wearing the orange vest for detainees, the graft convict arrived in Jakarta on Thursday after a flight from Kuala Lumpur, where the local police nabbed him upon request of their Indonesian counterparts.

While the capture of Djoko, dubbed Joker by many, marked an end to an 11-year manhunt, it should kick start more daunting work for the country’s law enforcers. Djoko’s arrest has provided a new opportunity for both the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to revamp the system to deter cops and prosecutors from compromising their integrity.

Read also: Indonesia brings graft fugitive Djoko Tjandra back from Malaysia

The National Police responded quickly to findings that Djoko was able to enter, travel around and leave the country unchecked, allegedly thanks to the help of higher-ups in the police force. National Police chief Gen. Idham Azis has dismissed Brig. Gen. Prasetyo Utomo from his job as head of the Civil Servant Investigator Supervisory and Coordination Bureau at the police’s Criminal Investigation Department, Brig. Gen. Nugroho Wibowo from his post as secretary of the National Central Bureau (NCB)-Interpol and Nugroho’s direct superior Insp. Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte.

Prasetiyo had allegedly issued a travel letter that allowed Djoko to fly within the country, while Nugroho had removed the Red Notice status for the fugitive so that he could travel back to Indonesia.

Prasetiyo has been named a suspect and is facing multiple charges, ranging from obstruction of justice to document forgery. The same criminal investigation should await Nugroho, who is now under investigation by the Internal Affairs Division.

The AGO has also taken action against state prosecutor Pinangki Sirna Malasari, who reportedly met Djoko in Kuala Lumpur last year. Deputy Attorney General Setia Untung Arimuladi removed Pinangki from her post as an official in the planning bureau under the junior attorney general for development on July 29 for a code of ethics violation. Many deem the punishment too mild because as a law enforcer, she should have taken part in the arrest of Djoko, who at that time was wanted by the AGO.

The Supreme Court sentenced Djoko to two years’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay more than Rp 546 billion (US$54 million) in restitution for his involvement in the high-profile Bank Bali corruption case. Under the country’s criminal justice system, the AGO is responsible for executing the Supreme Court’s verdicts, but in the case of Djoko, the execution did not materialize as the tycoon had fled Indonesia before the verdict was delivered.

Read also: Arrest of fugitive Djoko Tjandra took a week to plan, minister says

Law enforcers have long been perceived as part of the problem in the enforcement of the law in Indonesia, as the Djoko case may evince. Had civil society organizations and the public not leaked the alleged roles of law enforcers in Djoko’s evasion of justice, the scandal would have remained under the carpet.

On the bright side, the Djoko case shows that the whistleblowing system has been in place within both the National Police and the AGO to help them eradicate corruption. But this won’t be enough, unless they can clean up the mess themselves.