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Jakarta Post

Immigration admits wanted PDI-P politician has been in Indonesia since Jan. 7, despite minister's claim

  • Vela Andapita
    Vela Andapita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, January 22, 2020   /   07:27 pm
Immigration admits wanted PDI-P politician has been in Indonesia since Jan. 7, despite minister's claim Suspended General Elections Commission (KPU) commissioner Wahyu Setiawan (center) is accused of asking for Rp 900 million (US$65,948) in bribes from Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Harun Masiku. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

The Law and Human Rights Ministry's Immigration Directorate General finally confirmed on Wednesday that Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Harun Masiku -- whose whereabouts have been debated since he was named a bribery suspect earlier this month -- had returned to Indonesia from Singapore on Jan. 7.

Immigration Director General Ronny Sompie said that Harun, who is embroiled in graft allegations involving General Elections Commission (KPU) commissioner Wahyu Setiawan, arrived in Jakarta through Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on a Batik Air flight. 

“I have been informed, based on IT data from the system provided by the airport [management], that Harun returned to Jakarta on a Batik Air flight on Jan. 7,” Ronny said as quoted by kompas.com.

The statement is in line with a report published by Tempo magazine that said Harun had landed at the airport from Singapore on Jan. 7, citing Soekarno-Hatta's Terminal 2F CCTV footage that they had obtained. In the video, Harun was shown making his way through the immigration gate and exiting the airport while carrying a laptop case and a shopping bag.

Officials previously said Harun had yet to return home after he flew to Singapore on Jan. 6. However, based on investigations made by Tempo, Harun in fact left Indonesia for Singapore on Jan. 6 but returned the next day.

Wednesday's confirmation also appeared to contradict the previous statement made by Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly -- a fellow PDI-P politician -- who said that Harun "is not in Indonesia" when asked for confirmation by journalists on Jan. 16.

Read also: Airport CCTV footage shows PDI-P politician Harun Masiku returning to Indonesia, despite official claims

Ronny said that the ministry was only able to make the confirmation on Wednesday because there was a delay in traffic data processing at the airport’s Terminal 2F when Harun was returning – meaning that Harun’s trip back to Indonesia had not been recorded at that time.

“I have instructed the head of Soekarno-Hatta Airport Immigration Office and the director of immigration information system and technology to investigate the reason for the delay,” he said.

Ronny went on to assert that Harun was now in Indonesia because the directorate general had imposed a travel ban on him since Jan. 7. “The policy is implemented through a system that is connected to all immigration offices across Indonesia."

Harun is one among four people who have been named suspects by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in the case, alongside Wahyu, former Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) member Agustiani Tio Fridelina and a businessman named Saeful.

With the help of Seaful, Harun has been accused of giving Rp 900 million (US$65,948) in bribes to Wahyu in exchange for the latter's approval for Harun to fill the seat of a deceased politician, Nazarudin Kiemas, in the House of Representatives.

The PDI-P last week held a press conference to defend Harun’s endorsement as a legislative member despite the fact that he had been named a bribe suspect.

Yasonna also attended the press conference alongside other executives of the ruling party, including PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto and central executive board (DPP) chairman Ahmad Basarah.

Yasonna claimed that he was there as the PDI-P DPP’s head of legal and law affairs – not as a minister.

Read also: KPK puts PDI-P politician, bribery suspect Harun Masiku on most-wanted list

Despite Yasonna’s claim, Indonesian Ombudsman commissioner Adrianus Meilala said he was worried that the minister’s appearance would hamper Harun’s legal proceedings.

“He appeared in a political meeting when the party was preparing a legal team [for Harun], while on the other hand he is also a state official with responsibility for legal affairs,” Adrianus said on Wednesday in a release made available to The Jakarta Post.

“In our opinion, it's a professional matter and there is a potential conflict of interest,” he added, noting that Yasonna’s involvement had sparked controversy as it was "unethical", since a minister was supposed to ensure that law enforcement in the country remained independent.

Yasonna, according to Adrianus, had contravened Law No. 28/1999 on governance that is clean and free of corruption, collusion and nepotism.

Following the press conference, the minister asserted that he would not interfere in the case. “There will be no [intervention]. How would I make such an intervention?” Yasonna said on Friday as quoted by kompas.com.