Graft Fugitive Djoko Tjandra Arrested in Malaysia

JAKARTA : Graft convict Djoko Tjandra has been arrested in Malaysia after fleeing justice for 11 years, the National Police confirmed on Thursday.

The arrest was the latest development in the continuing saga of scandalous behavior in the inner circle of the National Police and other state agencies concerning Djoko.

Graft fugitive Djoko Tjandra, second left, arrives at the Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in East Jakarta after a flight from Kuala Lumpur escorted by police officers on July 30, 2020. (Beritasatu Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

The fugitive has actually returned to the country to register a legal challenge against his conviction and obtain Indonesian ID card and passport between May and June. Not only have law enforcement and immigration officials failed to arrest him, they in fact facilitated his return and produced all the documents he needed.

Sources in the National Police said Djoko is flown from Malaysia to Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusumah Airport tonight.

Graft fugitive Djoko Tjandra, left, walks out of a chartered plane at the Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in East Jakarta after a flight from Kuala Lumpur on July 30, 2020. (Beritasatu Photo/Emral Firdiansyah)
Indonesian police officers escort convicted corruption suspect, Djoko Tjandra (C), during his arrival at the airport in Jakarta, on July 30, 2020, after being arrested in Malaysia on his escape which caused several police generals to be dismissed for their involvement. (Photo by DASRIL ROSZANDI / AFP)

When asked about the information, National Police Spokesman Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono replied: “Yes”. 

Earlier in the day, a lawyer for Djoko has been named a suspect for “document forgery” in relations to Djoko’s return to Indonesia.

Anita Kolopaking allegedly has asked a high-ranking police officer to provide his client with a recommendation letter and a certificate stating that Djoko was free from coronavirus. Both documents should be presented by domestic flight passengers under a transportation ministerial regulation in force until June.

Brig. Gen. Prasetijo Utomo, a senior official at the Criminal Investigation Agency, has produced the documents and even accompanied Djoko during a flight from Jakarta to Pontianak, according to the police investigation. 

The National Police have said the documents were issued without permission from Prasetijo’s superiors and accordingly were deemed fake.

He has been detained and stripped off his duties since July 16, and was recently named a criminal suspect.

In another development, the South Jakarta District Court on Wednesday formally refused to extend Djoko’s request for a case review to the Supreme Court hearing.

The court argued that the request could not be proceeded because the convict had never attended any hearing, instead he had sent his attorneys to the district court.

Djoko was found guilty by the Supreme Court in 2009 for corruption related to debt settlement between Bank Bali and the now-defunct Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA). His lawyer said earlier Djoko’s company Era Giat Prima had its fund at the bank confiscated by the IBRA before he received hundreds of billions of rupiah in refund, stating that it constituted more as a civil case than a criminal one.

Indonesian Police Thank Malaysia for Assistance

The Indonesian Police expressed appreciation to their Malaysian counterpart on Thursday, following the arrest of graft fugitive Djoko Tjandra in Kuala Lumpur hours earlier.

Djoko, 68, arrived at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta handcuffed and already in an orange detainee vest on Thursday evening, ending the 11-year manhunt.

“We departed this afternoon to make the arrest and graft convict Djoko Tjandra is now in our custody thanks to good cooperation between the Criminal Investigation Agency and the Royal Malaysia Police,” agency head Comr. Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo told reporters late Thursday.

“We thank our partners at the Royal Malaysia Police for their assistance in the arrest and repatriation of Djoko Tjandra,” he added.

President’s Involvement

Listyo said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was directly involved in the manhunt by ordering National Police Chief General Idham Aziz to search and arrest the fugitive wherever he was.

The president’s order came amid reports that Djoko had actually returned and traveled in Indonesia last month with the help from several high-ranking police officers and immigration officials so that he could evade arrest.

The scandal “has stirred public uproar for weeks” and prompted the president to step in, Listyo said.

“Based on the president’s order, the police chief formed a special team and appointed me — as the Bareskrim [Criminal Investigation Agency] head — to take charge, supported by my colleagues from the Divpropam [Division of Profession and Internal Security] and the Bareskrim,” Listyo said.

“We began the search for Djoko Tjandra and got credible information that he was in Kuala Lumpur. The police chief followed the tipoff with police-to-police approach, which we commonly did in the past especially with our partners at the Royal Malaysia Police,” he added.

Graft fugitive Djoko Tjandra, center, is escorted by police officers upon arrival at the Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in East Jakarta after a flight from Kuala Lumpur  on July 30, 2020. (Beritasatu Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)
Graft fugitive Djoko Tjandra, center, is escorted by police officers upon arrival at the Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in East Jakarta after a flight from Kuala Lumpur on July 30, 2020. (Beritasatu Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

The arrest went smoothly and Djoko was immediately flown to Indonesia, he said.

Listyo also vowed to continue internal investigation against fellow officers who allegedly had facilitated Djoko’s return in June, but stopped short of signaling probe into the role of immigration officials.

“The public are certainly demanding answer over what have really happened. The National Police are committed to continuing the investigation and we will do so transparently and objectively to defend the pride and the name of the institution,” he said.

Three police generals were demoted and one of them was slapped with criminal charges for helping the fugitive evade arrest and providing documents that enabled Djoko to travel freely while in Indonesia.

Internal Measures

Now after Djoko was in custody, chief security minister Mahfud M.D. called for the country’s main law enforcement agencies and the Justice Ministry to take stern measures against their own people who facilitated Djoko’s return between May and June.

Police investigation revealed that Djoko entered Indonesia in May to renew his ID card and obtain Indonesian passport. He also went to the South Jakarta District Court to register a challenge against his 2009 graft conviction.

Djoko managed to evade arrest at the immigration entry because he had been discreetly removed from the Interpol wanted persons since 2014, but was revealed only recently.

“What we need to do now is internal measures in the National Police, the Attorney General’s Office or the Justice Ministry if immigration officials have played a role,” Mahfud said in a video message late Thursday.

“I will continue coordinating internal steps to make sure that measures are taken against all officials involved in the scandal,” he said.

“I will do everything within my power as Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs to make that happen.”

Mahfud also said the operation to arrest Djoko in the neighboring country has been planned since 10 days ago.

He said Listyo came to him with information that Djoko stayed in Malaysia and a plan had been made to make the arrest at a proper time.

Mahfud said only he, the president and the police chief had been told about the plan and they kept it confidential until the arrest was made.

“I’m so grateful that Djoko Tjandra was finally arrested but the news didn’t really come to my surprise. I already knew about the operation on July 20,” he said.

JAKARTA GLOBE

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