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Papua cop gave 'charity funds' to bosses

Jakarta Post - May 21, 2013

Yuliasri Perdani, Jakarta – Adj. First Insp. Labora Sitorus, a Papua Police officer accused of owning fat bank accounts, has said he wired money for "charity-related programs" to several of his superiors.

Labora, who allegedly controlled accounts through which passed over Rp 1 trillion (US$102 million) over a five-year period, made his statement during a closed-door meeting with National Police Commission (Kompolnas) members on Saturday, moments before his arrest.

The officer was then transferred back to Papua, where he will be held at the Papua Police detention center until the end of the police investigation, when a decision will be made whether to forward the case to prosecutors.

"He channeled some funds for social activities, but we are not sure about the motive," Kompolnas commissioner M. Nasser said after meeting with officers from the National Police's Criminal Investigations Division (Bareskrim) in Jakarta on Monday.

Labora did not give any details on the recipients of his money, according to Nasser. "He did not mention any names or ranks. He only claimed to have provided services," Nasser said without elaboration.

During the meeting on Saturday, Labora claimed that he was innocent, suggesting he had obtained his fortune legally from family businesses.

Nasser had previously said that he suspected that Labora's arrest was the result of internal machinations, calling Labora a pawn used in a game between high-ranking officers who have been engaged in illegal businesses for time immemorial.

"This is only business competition. There some officers who are fighting for the business interests of others," Nasser said on Sunday.

Despite 2003 Governmental regulation on police discipline, which bars police officers from running business related to the police or in an area where an officer serves that might result in state losses, National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said it was legal for the relatives of police officers to engage in such business.

Boy said that the relatives of a police officer, like any other civilian, "retain the right to have businesses, as long as it is legal."

Labora has claimed that his wife, brother-in-law and children run PT Rotua, a timber company, and PT Seno Adi Wijaya, a mining and fuel company.

The Papua Police confiscated 15,000 logs, 1,500 blocks and 81 containers of timber in Papua and Surabaya, East Java, in late March from PT Rotua that were allegedly intended for export to China and three barges carrying 1 million liters of diesel fuel off Sorong, West Papua, from PT Seno Adi Wijaya.

The seizures fuelled suspicions that Labora had amassed a fortune from illegal logging and fuel smuggling.

The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) recently said that investigators had found 60 bank accounts that were affiliated with Labora.

The accounts recorded more than Rp 1 trillion in financial transactions between 2007 and 2012, the PPATK said. "Our investigators have frozen 60 accounts that relate to his businesses," Boy said.

The Papua Police, under the direction of the National Police, will charge Labora under the 1999 Forestry Law, the Oil and Gas Law and the Money Laundering Law.

However, Labora may have been involved in illicit activity several years ago. News portal tempo.co reported that Labora allegedly bootlegged cheap liquor in the 1990s, selling Cap Tikus, a traditional alcoholic drink from Manado, North Sulawesi, in Sorong.

Graft watchdog Indonesian Corruption Watch has called for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to investigate Labora to avoid having the allgeations swept under the rug.

In 2006, the Jayapura court acquitted then Papua Police chief Comr. Gen. Marthen Renouw on charges that he accepted a $120,000 bribe to protect illegal loggers.