Indonesia: Police following money trail in Djoko Tjandra’s flight

(Jakarta Post) – The National Police will investigate allegations that a flow of illicit funds allowed graft fugitive Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra to evade law enforcement for more than a decade.

Police arrested Djoko in Malaysia on Thursday (July 30) in what authorities called “a planned operation”. He had spent 11 years on the run.

After being questioned at the headquarters of the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Unit (Bareskrim), Djoko was detained at a police facility in Salemba, Central Jakarta.

“We will proceed with our investigation related to the issuance of travel recommendation letters and […] the alleged flow of illicit funds [pertaining to his flight],” Bareskrim head Comr. Gen. Listry Sigit Prabowo said during a televised press briefing on Friday.

Djoko escaped the country to Papua New Guinea in 2009, a day before the Supreme Court sentenced him to two years in prison and ordered him to pay more than Rp 546 billion (US$54 million) in restitution for his role in the Bank Bali corruption case.

He managed to return to Indonesia in early June to file a request for a review for his conviction. He reportedly filed the documents after obtaining a new electronic ID card and passport and having his Interpol red notice status lifted.

Djoko’s clandestine return to Indonesia has implicated three high-ranking police generals, who were removed from top positions in the force for their alleged facilitation of Djoko’s travel within the country.

Bareskrim Civil Servant Investigator Supervisory and Coordination Bureau head Brig. Gen. Prasetyo Utomo has been named a suspect by the police for allegedly issuing forged travel letters for Djoko.

Indonesian Anti-Corruption Community (MAKI) chairman Boyamin Saiman previously urged authorities to trace the flow of funds in the case, suggesting there was more to be discovered.

“We could look into additional alleged bribery surrounding the case if he were to open up,” Boyamin said during an interview with Kompas TV on Thursday.

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) acting spokesperson Ali Fikri said the antigraft body had offered help to the police track the flow of funds in the case. “We have communicated and coordinated with Bareskrim through our deputy [head] of prevention.”