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Jakarta Post

AGO continues work despite blaze

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, August 25, 2020   /   09:02 am
AGO continues work despite blaze Ruins: The main building in the Attorney General’s Office compound smolders in South Jakarta on Sunday after it was gutted by fire on Saturday evening. Authorities are investigating the cause of the blaze. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Lawmakers and the Prosecutors Commission (KomJak) have called on the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to reassure the public that its work will not be affected by the fire that gutted its main office building in South Jakarta over the weekend, as police look into possible foul play.

The massive blaze broke out on Saturday evening on the sixth floor of the AGO building in Kebayoran Baru before spreading to the entire structure. No casualties were reported after firefighters battled for more than 10 hours to bring the fire under control, according to the South Jakarta Fire and Rescue Agency.

The chairman of House of Representatives Commission III overseeing law enforcement, Herman Hery, called for Attorney General ST Burhanuddin to set up an independent team to thoroughly investigate the cause of the fire.

“I urge the Attorney General to establish a special team with the National Police to discover [the cause of] this incident. Most importantly, the investigation into this incident should be conducted in a transparent and professional manner,” Herman said in a statement on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com.

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician also expressed the hope that the fire would not significantly affect the work of the AGO.

Separately, Komjak chairman Barita Simanjuntak said the AGO should reassure the public that its duties could still be effectively carried out so as to avoid further speculation over the incident.

“We hope that the process of handling legal cases can resume [as usual], which will also serve to provide reassurances that [the AGO’s] public service duties are not affected,” Barita told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Speculation is rife that the incident could be an attempt to obstruct ongoing AGO investigations into several high-profile cases, with concerns that case dossiers may have been destroyed in the blaze.

AGO spokesman Hari Setiyono insisted that the case files and dossiers currently handled by the AGO were stored in a separate building.

“The dossiers for extraordinary crimes are stored at the office of the assistant attorney general for extraordinary crimes, which is located quite far from [the incident],” he said, “while the dossiers for general crimes are stored at the office of the assistant attorney general for general crimes, which is also safe”.

State prosecutors are in the midst of handling a number of high-profile cases, including that of Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra, a recently recaptured graft convict who was implicated in the 1998 Bank Bali graft scandal.

Read also: Where has Rp 540 billion in Bank Bali evidence gone?: Ex-KPK chairman

The AGO was also looking into the case of Pinangki Sirna Malasari, a prosecutor who was recently arrested after she allegedly accepted bribes amounting to US$500,000 from Djoko.

Additionally, the AGO was investigating alleged corruption in state-owned insurer Jiwasraya. It had named 13 asset-management companies, three former executives of Jiwasraya and a Financial Services Authority (OJK) official as suspects.

The fire started in a part of the building that previously served as the office for the AGO’s human resources, legal and planning departments, as well as its intelligence office. It was also where Attorney General Burhanuddin and Deputy Attorney General Untung Arimuladi worked.

This was not the first time that the Attorney General's Office (AGO) building caught fire. In 2003, the office's control room, located next to the then-vacant office for the deputy attorney general, caught fire. The building also experienced two fires in 1979.This was not the first time that the Attorney General's Office (AGO) building caught fire. In 2003, the office's control room, located next to the then-vacant office for the deputy attorney general, caught fire. The building also experienced two fires in 1979. (JP/Hengky Wijaya)

The attorney general confirmed that his office would continue providing public services as usual.

“Today, along with the deputy attorney general and the assistant attorney general for development and counsel [Jambin], I’ve started working at our education and training campus in Ragunan [South Jakarta],” Burhanuddin said on Monday.

“Although our building was burned down, it will not affect our activities.”

Read also: Police assign special team to investigate AGO fire

Hari said that the AGO would be consulting with the Jakarta administration as to whether the building could be renovated after the investigation into the incident is wrapped up.

“Because it is part of a cultural heritage area, we will ask for the Jakarta administration’s permission in regard to renovation or rebuilding efforts,” he said.

The head of the Jakarta Cultural Agency’s preservation department, Novriandi S. Husodo, said in a statement that the AGO building itself was not a cultural heritage site, as per Jakarta Gubernatorial Decree No. 475/1993, but that it was treated as such because it fulfilled the necessary criteria. The building is currently undergoing the process of being designated as a heritage site.

The police sent a forensics team on Monday to the building to investigate the cause of the incident and check its structural integrity, Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Commr. Yusri Yunus said.

He declined to give an estimate of the potential losses incurred as a result of the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.

Read also: Police to question at least 15 witnesses regarding AGO fire

Some 900 people from the Jambin’s office had been relocated to the AGO’s education and training campus in Ragunan, while around 200 people from the AGO’s intelligence office will temporarily work from another training campus in Ceger, East Jakarta.