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Jakarta Post

Editorial: Lowly cop with vast wealth

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Mon, May 20, 2013   /  11:05 am

It is obvious that the '€œvirus'€ of corruption has penetrated all levels and groups in society. While it is common that the amount of money involved in a corruption case is on a par with the rank or position that one holds '€” a high-ranking official is associated with a huge amount of embezzled money while a low-ranking one usually has a much smaller amount '€” the recent discovery of a non-commissioned police officer implicated in corruption involving a huge amount of money is, therefore, extraordinary and, at the same time, suspicious.

The case in point implicates Adj. First Insp. Labora Sitorus of the Sorong Police in West Papua, who is suspected of involvement in illegal logging and fuel smuggling and was found to have bank accounts containing billions of
rupiah. The case against him was first raised by the Financial Transaction Reports Analysis Centre (PPATK), which filed a report with National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo in March stating that the low-ranking officer was linked to bank transactions totaling Rp 1.5 trillion (US$153 million) between 2007 and 2012.

An investigation by the Papua Police has found that the illicit practices were allegedly committed by PT Seno Adi Wijaya and PT Rotua, which had wired money to several bank accounts, including Sitorus'€™, although the latter holds no official position in either company. In total, 60 bank accounts have been linked to Sitorus '€” some are his personal accounts and the rest are under the two companies'€™ names '€” and they have been frozen upon the request of the National Police. The police have also seized assets belonging to the two companies.

This latest case against Sitorus has only added to the list of graft cases involving police officers. In 2011, the PPATK reported 23 suspiciously '€œfat'€ bank accounts belonging to senior police officers. After conducting an internal investigation into the cases, the National Police claimed that 17 of the accounts were clean, but declined to publicize the details.

Above all these cases against police officers, former National Police Traffic Corps chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo is the first active general to be prosecuted by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and stand trial at the Jakarta Corruption Court. The KPK claims that Djoko had wired money illegally obtained from the Rp 200 billion procurement of driving simulators by the traffic corps to his wives and relatives.

The Papua Police, under the direction of the National Police, is now building their case against Sitorus, who will be charged under the 1999 Forestry Law, the 2001 Papua Special Autonomy Law and the Money Laundering Law. However, the police'€™s investigation and their speed to press charges against Sitorus only invite questions regarding the '€œsimplicity'€ of the case.

Illegal logging and fuel smuggling, although they may have been committed surreptitiously, effectively involve a lot of people in the process, who '€” for sure '€” would not have carried out their tasks for free. To hold Sitorus solely responsible for such a big case that was perpetrated over such a long period of time (2007-2012) is ridiculous; the case must have involved others, including those of higher ranks within the West Papua Police and, possibly, the National Police.

To act rapidly to prosecute the case may be perceived as a good move by the police, but it is not good enough because the case is not as simple as it looks; it involves a huge amount of '€œdirty money'€ and potentially implicates far more people than just one non-commissioned police officer.

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