Ombudsman Finds Ethical Violations in National Police’s Arrest of Anti-Graft Deputy Chief
Jakarta. The Ombudsman Commission announced it had found National Police’s arrest of an antigraft deputy last month violated ethics rules.
Bambang Widjojanto, the suspended deputy chief of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), was arrested and detained for more than 15 hours on Jan. 23 as part of a police investigation.
Police accused Bambang of compelling witnesses to commit perjury in an election dispute case he handled as a defense lawyer in 2010.
Bambang was subsequently charged and suspended from active duty. Many saw the police’s move as a retaliation against the KPK’s investigation against Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, the president’s previous pick to serve as the nation’s top cop.
Budi is the target of a investigation for alleged bribery and money laundering. KPK officials say that between 2003 and 2006, Rp 54 billion ($4.2 million) flowed through Budi’s personal bank account.
Bambang reported to the Ombudsman on Jan. 29 that there were irregularities in his arrest.
Ombudsman commissioner Budi Santoso announced on Tuesday that among the officers arresting Bambang was Sr. Comr. Victor E. Simanjuntak, of the National Police Education Institute (Lemdikpol), which Budi Gunawan currently oversees.
“The presence of Sr. Comr. Viktor E. Simanjuntak during the arrest is not warranted,” Santoso said.
Another irregularity was the presence of two heavily armed police officers, which the Ombudsman found to be excessive.
Bambang was driving his daughter Izzat Nabilla to school at the time.
The armed officers’ presence as well as the fact that Izzat was also taken to the National Police headquarters, Ombudsman commissioner Santoso said, shocked the small girl.
The Ombudsman also found other irregularities.
The arresting letter was signed by the National Police’s special economics subdivision chief Sr. Comr Daniel Bolly Tifaona.
The agency recommended the police sanction Daniel for not following proper procedure and Viktor for exceeding his authority.
The Ombudsman also recommended all officers involved in the arrest be investigated by the police’s ethics tribunal.
Bambang answered a summons for questioning by the National Police on Tuesday — arriving with a letter explaining his grounds for rejecting the summons.
In it, he argued the police had not given him the results of several witness examinations, which a suspect is entitled to by law.
“Today we came to the National Police headquarters to submit three complaint letters. The first being that the summons was [technically] flawed,” Bambang’s lawyer Lelyana Santosa said.
Bambang’s team of lawyers also questioned additional charges lodged against their client while the third letter demanded police conduct a cross examination between police, prosecutors and Bambang’s legal team.
Hundreds of KPK officials came to the KPK office’s main lobby to see Bambang off to the National Police headquarters, shouting words of encouragement for their former leader.
Police have launched an investigations into four KPK leaders, as well as 22 of its investigators, for cases dating back up to 10 years, further deepening suspicion that the police are retaliating against Budi’s naming as a suspect.
The National Police have charged former KPK chief Abraham Samad for allegedly helping a prominent graft
convict receive a reduced sentence last year in exchange for political backing from the convict’s political party to support Abraham’s supposed ambition to become vice president.
In a separate case, the South Sulawesi Police also charged Abraham with document forgery after assisting a woman, Feriyani Lim, in obtaining a passport in 2007.
Meanwhile, KPK senior investigator Novel Baswedan was charged with abusing a prisoner during his time at the Cirebon district police.
Also on Tuesday, Abraham, who was last week suspended from active duty, was summoned by the South Sulawesi Police.
After failing to abide the first summons made by the South Sulawesi Police, Abraham arrived at police headquarters in Makassar at 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
Abraham was welcomed by hundreds of friends and supporters when he arrived at Makassar’s Sultan Hasanuddin airport that morning.
Abraham, a Makassar native, also gave a speech to his supporters when he arrived at his former office of the Makassar Anti-Corruption Committee, where he served as chairman before becoming a KPK chief.
The interrogation lasted two hours before police suspended the session because Abraham said he was not feeling well.
Abraham said he is glad to be back home particularly since during his active duty as KPK chief, he didn’t have much opportunity to go back to Makassar.
After the questioning, Abraham visited his father’s grave.
“This is my ritual. Every time I go to Makassar, I always make time to visit my father’s grave,” he said.
President Joko Widodo last week suspended Abraham and Bambang from active duty due to their legal status.
The president appointed Taufiequrachman Ruki, Indriyanto Adjie Seno and Johan Budi as interim KPK commissioners.
Several analysts have speculated that Ruki’s appointment was intended to mend ties with the National Police.
Ruki, a retired two-star police general, was the KPK’s inaugural chief between 2003 and 2007.
The interim KPK chief visited the National Police headquarters last week, just hours after Ruki and the other two were sworn into their new posts by Joko.
Ruki met with deputy police chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, whom the president recently named a candidate for the job of police chief.
However, the police’s chief detectives Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso said the meeting will not stop investigations into the KPK leaders, including active KPK deputies Adnan Pandu Praja and Zulkarnain.
Adnan is accused of fraudulently acquiring shares in a timber company while advising it during an ownership dispute in 2006; deputy chairman Zulkarnain is accused of receiving bribes when he was chief prosecutor in East Java in 2009.
The complainant in the latter case is the former provincial council speaker who Zulkarnain successfully prosecuted and jailed for four years.
Ruki has also indicated the KPK is looking to resume the case against Budi Gunawan following the South Jakarta District Court’s decision to revoke the KPK’s investigation letter for technical reasons.
On Monday, former minister Suryadharma Ali filed a similar pretrial motion against the KPK for naming him a graft suspect last year, proving predictions that Budi has served as an inspiration for other graft suspects.
Zulkanain said the agency is considering lodging a plea for a case review in the Supreme Court (MA) against the South Jakarta District Court’s ruling.
“We will see what we will do exactly. Although we respect the ruling, the people’s sense of justice must also be fulfilled. This is more important than the technical legal arguments,” he said. JG
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Source: The Jakarta Globe