Tri Indah Oktavianti and Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – The Indonesian Anticorruption Community (MAKI) reported House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Azis Syamsudin to the House's ethics council on Tuesday for prohibiting lawmakers from holding a hearing during recess to discuss the case of fugitive Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra.
House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, initially planned to hold a hearing with the National Police, the Attorney General's Office (AGO) and the Law and Human Rights Ministry over the issuance of a travel letter for Djoko by police officers, which had also been reported by MAKI to the commission.
"The hearing is an urgent matter as it will help the government solve the case. It will also provide a recommendation to further trace those involved in helping Djoko," MAKI coordinator Boyamin Saiman said in a statement on Tuesday.
Azis said on Tuesday that he decided not to grant permission for the hearing because the House was in recess until Aug. 13.
"Let's not argue about administrative matters because I don't want to disobey the House's code of conduct and the House's Steering Committee's [Bamus] decision prohibiting any hearings during recess," the Golkar Party politician said in a statement on Tuesday.
He went on to say that lawmakers were able to make work-related visits during the recess, thus he recommended that Commission III conduct a field inspection with relevant authorities in relation to the issuance of Djoko's travel letter.
"The rules are supposed to be adhered to by all House members. I can't think of why anyone would be so persistent to demand a hearing for Djoko Tjandra's case," Azis added.
MAKI, however, claimed that House Speaker Puan Maharani had agreed to the hearing proposal.
Boyamin argued that hearings during recess were allowed and would not violate Bamus' decision as long as the commission was granted permission.
"We have seen many hearings during previous breaks," Boyamin argued, adding that it was also possible for the meeting to be conducted virtually, if necessary.
"Azis Syamsudin may have violated the code of ethics by hindering the House in undergoing its supervisory role," he added, suspecting Azis to have "other interests" in relation to the matter.
Commission III member Hinca Pandjaitan deplored the prohibition of the planned hearing, saying that Article 53 of the House's code of conduct allowed House commissions to conduct supervisory hearings during recess to handle urgent matters.
"It is related to a fundamental subject and it is a part of the House's function. Thus, it is necessary," the Democratic Party politician said.
Djoko, a convict in the high-profile Bank Bali corruption case, has remained at large for more than a decade ever since he fled to Papua New Guinea after being sentenced to two years' imprisonment and ordered to pay Rp 546 billion (US$37 million) in restitution by the Supreme Court in June 2009.
He reportedly returned to Indonesia without being detected by the immigration office and filed a review of his case in early June. He was able to obtain a new electronic identification card and passport and had his red notice status lifted.
Three high-ranking police officers have been removed from their posts over their alleged involvement in helping the fugitive travel within the country.