Farouk Arnaz, Jakarta – A high-ranking police officer was detained and charged with disciplinary misconducts on Wednesday for discreetly facilitating recent trips by graft fugitive Djoko Tjandra, who has fled justice for more than a decade.
Brig. Gen. Prasetijo Utomo, who holds a key post at the Criminal Investigation Agency, or Bareskrim, was detained for issuing a "travel letter" stating that Djoko is a 'consultant' who intends to make business trips between 19 and 22 June.
The letter says nothing about Djoko's conviction and fugitive status.
"He is being detained by the internal affairs division for 14 days, starting tonight," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono said of Prasetijo.
But the spokesman implied that police have yet to press criminal charges against Prasetijo, who also has been stripped off his duties.
The 1991 Police Academy graduate is accused of disciplinary and ethical misconducts for acting beyond his authority and without the consent of his superior. The worst he can face is dishonorable discharge if found guilty by the internal ethic committee.
"He produced the letter by himself without asking permission from his superior," Argo said.
Prasetijo served as the supervisory bureau head at Bareskrim when he issued the letter on June 18.
The scandal was first revealed by non-governmental group Indonesian Anti-Corruption Society (MAKI), who lodged a report to the Ombudsman on Monday.
Another NGO, Indonesian Police Watch, came out later with more details about identity of the disgraced officer and the dates when Djoko made the travels between Jakarta and the West Kalimantan capital of Pontianak.
Djoko, who turns 69 next month, was found guilty by the Supreme Court for corruption related to Bank Bali debts and sentenced to two years in jail in June 2009. He had already left for Papua New Guinea the day before the sentencing was delivered, prompting prosecutors and police to issue a red notice to the Interpol.
Early last month, a lawyer representing Djoko registered a judicial review into the conviction at the South Jakarta District Court, leading to media inquiry about his whereabouts.
It was later found that Djoko had returned and stayed long enough in the country that he managed to travel back and forth between Jakarta and his home province, West Kalimantan.
Reports of his return without any slightest attempt by authorities to arrest him have triggered public outrage.
It was learned that Djoko had been removed from the Interpol list of fugitives since 2014. Furthermore, he was already handed a valid ID card by a sub-district government in Jakarta.
Prasetijo served at the police international relations and transnational crimes division, which oversees the National Crime Bureau Interpol (NCB Interpol) in Jakarta, prior to his assignment to Bareskrim. But police declined to comment when asked if the disgraced officer also had helped Djoko with the red notice removal during his time at the NCB.