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Jakarta Post

Police name eight suspects in AGO building blaze

  • Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, October 24, 2020   /   06:48 am
Police name eight suspects in AGO building blaze Looking for a clue: A team from the National Police’s Central Forensics Laboratory (Puslabfor) leave the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) compound after conducting a crime scene investigation in South Jakarta on Aug. 24. The main building at the AGO compound was gutted by fire on Aug. 22 evening. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

The National Police have named eight suspects in a fire incident that ravaged the main building of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) complex in August, concluding that worker negligence and careless use of flammable materials caused the blaze.

National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono said the police named the suspects after concluding its 63-day-long investigation, standing behind the previous conclusion that the fire was not caused by arson.

“We held a case reconstruction at 10 a.m. to determine the suspects from the AGO fire so that the case can be clear,” Argo told a media conference on Friday. “And we named eight suspects in this fire case.”

Five of the suspects were construction workers who were working on a project in the staffing bureau hall of the building’s sixth floor, where the fire allegedly started. Their foreman was also named as a suspect.

Read also: No foul play behind AGO building blaze, prosecutor says

The general crimes director of the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim), Brig. Gen. Ferdy Sambo, said the construction workers smoked cigarettes when working in the hall with flammable materials such as thinners and construction-grade adhesive. The foreman, Ferdy said, also failed to supervise the workers.

According to Ferdy, the investigation suggested that the fire, which engulfed the entire structure of the building, was caused by an open flame – either through embers or ignition – instead of a short circuit.

The two other suspects were identified as a commitment officer of the AGO and the president director of a company responsible for the procurement of flammable cleaning solution TOP Cleaner, which was used in the building.

Ferdy said that the cleaning fluid, which did not have a permit for distribution for public use, accelerated the spread of the flames from the sixth floor.

“We conclude from the facts, reports of experts’ examination and the findings from the crime scene that the fire in the AGO building was caused by the negligence of the people who worked in the building and the negligence in choosing cleaning materials,” Ferdy said.

The police charged all eight suspects under Article 188 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that negligence that causes incidents, such as a fire, explosion or flood, is punishable with a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment upon conviction.

The fire in the AGO compound’s main building, situated in Kebayoran Baru of South Jakarta, initially broke out on Aug. 22 and lasted more than 10 hours. According to the South Jakarta Fire and Rescue Agency, it took 325 personnel and 65 fire engines before the fire could be extinguished the next day.

Read also: Police say arson may be behind AGO building fire

The blaze hit the AGO at a critical time as the office was handling some of the largest graft cases in the country, including one involving then-fugitive Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra, a former businessman who has been convicted in the Bank Bali corruption case.

The incident also raised suspicions after Attorney General ST Burhanuddin confirmed that the fire destroyed the office of prosecutor Pinangki Sirna Malasari, who was then a recently named suspect for allegedly accepting US$500,000 from Djoko and meeting with him several times when the convict was at large abroad.

Pinangki is now being tried at the Jakarta Corruption Court for charges of bribery and money laundering. Meanwhile, Djoko is currently being tried for his alleged involvement in the issuance of police travel clearance that allowed him to travel within the country when he was still on the run.

Prior to the case reconstruction, the police questioned more than 130 people in the investigation, including janitors, office clerks and other AGO employees, naming 64 of them witnesses.