Dio Suhenda and Nur Janti, Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has arrested one of Papua's most popular and controversial figures, governor Lukas Enembe, who had been on the commission's radar for months after he failed to appear for a summons in relation to a bribery investigation.
Lukas was reportedly having lunch in a restaurant in Jayapura on Tuesday when several KPK investigators apprehended him. He was temporarily held at the National Police Mobile Brigade detention center in Kotaraja, Papua, before being flown to Jakarta from Jayapura's Sentani airport.
The KPK named Lukas a suspect in a bribery case in September of last year for allegedly accepting a Rp 1 billion (US$64,384) bribe from a private party.
Lukas has cited poor health for his failure to appear for multiple summonses, prompting KPK chairman Firly Bahuri, along with several investigators and doctors, to question Lukas in person in Papua in November.
KPK spokesperson Ali Fikri said that now that Lukas had been arrested, he would undergo questioning in Jakarta. "What is certain is that the next step to be carried out [for Lukas] is an examination," Ali said during a televised interview with Kompas on Tuesday, adding that the KPK would be in charge of the moves that followed.
Ali also disputed Lukas's claims of ill health, saying that Lukas had made public appearances in Papua a number of times in apparently good health. "The fact is that, [Lukas' health] is the opposite [of what he claims]," Ali said.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has thrown his support behind the KPK, claiming on Tuesday that everyone stood equal before the law. "[That's the type of] law enforcement process that we have to respect. As the KPK has apprehended [Lukas], I think they must have already found evidence," Jokowi said.
Lukas' arrest prompted a skirmish at the Kotaraja detention center between local police and a group thought to consist of the governor's supporters. The crowd threw stones and fired arrows at the police, according to the police account, prompting authorities to fire four warning shots to disperse the crowd.
It was not the first time Lukas' supporters had taken to the streets in protest. Thousands rallied in September against the graft investigation and demanded its termination while accusing the KPK of persecuting the governor for political reasons. Lukas, formerly a Democratic party politician, has been governor of Papua since 2013. In 2017, he was named a suspect in a separate graft case over the alleged misuse of scholarship funds for the 2016 fiscal year.
The KPK named Lukas a graft suspect in September for allegedly accepting a bribe in relation to the provincial administration's goods and services procurement. The state-run Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) also cited a series of suspicious transactions related to the administration.
The Democratic party relieved Lukas of his duties as the head of the party's Papua chapter in September. Last week, the KPK arrested Rijatono Lakka, the director of a contractor company in Papua, for allegedly bribing Lukas to award him government tenders. Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) coordinator Agus Sunaryanto said Lukas' arrest was a step forward in solving the graft case. "Hopefully, the next processes can now run smoothly," Agus said on Tuesday.