The Jakarta Post
Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) has demanded that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo evaluate the performance of Budi Gunawan, the current chair of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) for his failure to detect fugitive Djoko Tjandra within Indonesia’s borders. The agency has denied any wrongdoing.
ICW activist Kurnia Ramadhana said Budi had failed to detect and apprehend Djoko Tjandra, a convict in the high-profile Bank Bali corruption case, after he allegedly entered the country undetected to file a request for a review of his conviction on graft charges in early June. Djoko fled to Papua New Guinea in 2009 to escape his conviction.
The National Police brought the fugitive home on Thursday though a joint operation of the Indonesian and Malaysian police.
“The President must immediately evaluate the performance of BIN’s head, Budi Gunawan, because he was proven to have failed to detect graft fugitive, Djoko Tjandra, allowing the latter to travel in Indonesia easily,” Kurnia wrote in a statement recently.
Djoko’s furtive return elicited widespread criticism of the Indonesian bureaucracy. Djoko was reportedly able to file the case review request at the South Jakarta District Court, obtain a new electronic identification card and passport and have his Interpol red notice lifted.
Kurnia noted that prior to Budi assuming his current position in 2017, BIN had managed to bring home two graft fugitives from outside the country.
The first was Totok Ari Prabowo, former regent of Temanggung, Central Java, who was convicted of embezzling an educational aid fund. He fled to Cambodia in 2011 and was captured by the BIN in 2015. The second was Samadikun Hartono, who was convicted in a BLBI bailout corruption case. He escaped to China and was captured in 2016.
Kurnia said BIN had the responsibility to apprehend escaped graft convicts as the 2011 Intelligence Law gave the organization the agency the mandate of pursuing threats to the nation’s economy.
“Therefore, we conclude that the search and circulation of information from BIN has not shown optimum results,” he added.
In response to ICW’s complaints, BIN’s deputy head of communication and information Wawan Hari Purwanto said the intelligence agency was not a law enforcement body and that its position under the president required it to report directly to him, instead of to the public.
“According to article 30 of Law No. 17/2011 on state intelligence, BIN does not have the authority to carry out arrests either at home or abroad. BIN is not a law enforcement agency, and its [task] is to provide strategic input related to state security to the president,” Wawan said in a statement to The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
He said the agency would continue to coordinate with other domestic and foreign intelligence agencies to hunt down graft fugitives clandestinely, as was the case with the arrests of Totok Ari Prabowo and Samadikun Hartono. He also mentioned BIN was involved in the recent arrest of fugitive Maria Pauline Lumowa. The mission was spearheaded by the Law and Human Rights Ministry.
According to 2020 ICW data, 40 graft convicts are still on the loose and are believed to have fled overseas. Twenty-one of them are being pursued by the Attorney General’s Office, 13 by the National Police and six by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). The ICW has estimated that the escaped fugitives are collectively responsible for Rp 55.8 trillion and $105.5 million in state losses.
Most of the fugitives are thought to have escaped to Papua New Guinea, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United States or Australia.