The National Police planned the arrest of graft fugitive Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra more than a week before they finally ended his 11 years on the run on Thursday, a senior minister has revealed.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD said he was first informed on July 20 about the police's plan to capture the convict, who had been staying in Malaysia after filing a case review against his conviction in June.
At that time, the National Police's Criminal Investigation Unit (Bareskrim) chief Insp. Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo came to Mahfud's office and told him that the detective unit would cooperate with their Malaysian counterparts to make the arrest.
"He told us that the police would begin the operation that evening as they had already located [Djoko's] whereabouts," Mahfud said on Thursday.
Besides himself, the minister said only President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and National Police chief Gen. Idham Azis knew about the operation.
Handcuffed and wearing an orange shirt, Djoko arrived with police personnel at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in East Jakarta on Thursday evening. He was immediately taken to Bareskrim’s headquarters, where he is currently being detained.
Djoko, a convict in the high-profile Bank Bali corruption case, made headlines last month after he managed to return to Indonesia undetected, have his new identity documents issued and file for a case review for his two-year prison sentence with the South Jakarta District Court.
He was at large for more than a decade after fleeing to Papua New Guinea a day before the Supreme Court convicted him in 2009.
The South Jakarta District Court, however, announced before his arrest on Thursday that Djoko's plea could not be accepted because he had repeatedly failed to show up for his hearings.
But Mahfud said Djoko still had the change to file another case review because the court had not officially rejected the plea but had merely dropped the case because it did not fulfill the administrative requirements.
"There is a possibility that Djoko will resubmit his case review request to the court. However, once he files his plea, it is no longer under the government's jurisdiction because the judiciary is under the Supreme Court," he said.
The failure to detect Djoko's sudden return to Indonesia in June has implicated three high-ranking police generals who were removed last week for their alleged role in helping the convict travel within the country.
Of the three, only Brig. Gen. Prasetyo Utomo has been named a suspect by the police for allegedly assisting and issuing forged travel letters for Djoko in the one-star general's capacity as the head of Bareskrim's Civil Servant Investigator Supervisory and Coordination Bureau.
On Thursday evening, the National Police named Djoko's lawyer, Anita Kolopaking, a suspect and brought multiple charges against her for her alleged role in using the forged letters to travel and helping a criminal on the run.
Antigraft activists have lauded the police for their efforts in tracking down and arresting Djoko, but watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) reminded them that they needed to look into the possible involvement of other police generals in the case.
“The police should examine the possibility that more National Police top brass are involved in covering Djoko Tjandra’s tracks,” the ICW said in a statement received by The Jakarta Post on Friday.
The group also urged the police to immediately name Djoko a suspect for allegedly forging a letter for his personal interests as stipulated in Article 263 of the Criminal Code.