Yuliasri Perdani, Jakarta – In what could been seen as damage control from a money-laundering scandal, Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian has dismissed Raja Ampat Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Taufik Irfan.
Taufik was dismissed for his failure in tracking the illicit businesses of his subordinate, Adj. First Insp. Labora Sitorus. Labora controlled at least 60 bank accounts through which over Rp 1 trillion (US$102 million) has passed in five years, the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) has reported earlier this month.
On Monday, Tito installed Adj. Sr. Comr. Bhartolomeus Meison Sagala to replace Taufik. "A commander should be aware if his member runs a fuel and timber business. This is a part of our consideration to transfer him [Taufik] to the Papua Police," Tito said after the swearing-in ceremony in Jayapura.
The Papua Police has detained Labora for his alleged role in illegal logging by PT Rotua and fuel smuggling by PT Seno Adi Wijaya. Labora could face a maximum penalty of only seven years' imprisonment under the 1999 Forestry Law, the Oil and Gas Law and the Money Laundering Law.
The low-ranking police officer was arrested soon after he filed a complaint with the National Police Commission (Kompolnas) and was promptly flown back to Papua to face charges, prompting speculation that he would be prosecuted to protect some of his superiors who were alleged to have roles in the illegal activities.
On May 18, Labora told Kompolnas members that he wired money for "charity-related programs" to several of his superiors within the Papua Police. Kompolnas members declined to give any details on who received money from Labora.
Meanwhile, National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar announced on Monday that a new suspect had been named in the Labora case. He said that Immanuel Mamora, PT Rotua operational director, had been named a suspect in illegal logging. "He will be charged under the Forestry Law, just like Labora," Boy said.
Immanuel will be charged under Article 50 of the 1999 Forestry Law with a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment and a Rp 10 billion fine.
The illegal logging case first came to light in March when the Papua Police confiscated 15,000 logs, 1,500 blocks and 81 containers of timber in Papua and Surabaya, East Java, from PT Rotua intended for export to China.
Earlier, the Papua Police named operational director of PT Seno Adi Wijaya (SAW) Jimmy Lagesang a fuel smuggling suspect.. Jimmy allegedly oversaw the activities of PT SAW in transporting and selling diesel fuel in Papua at a higher price.
From PT SAW, the Papua Police have confiscated three barges carrying 1 million liters of diesel fuel off Sorong, West Papua.
Boy said that they would issue a final summons for Jimmy. "We have called him for questioning twice, at both of which he failed to appear. According to the procedure, we will issue the final summons and forcibly take him in for questioning," he said.