Muhammad Aulia, Jakarta – A group of anti-corruption activists on Sunday released damning pictures of Papua Governor Lukas Enembe purportedly playing table games at an overseas casino amid unsuccessful attempts by law enforcement agencies to interrogate him in person after he was named a graft suspect two weeks ago.
The Indonesian Anti-Corruption Community, or MAKI, said the pictures that appear to be screen grabs from security cameras were taken on July 20-21 in Malaysia's gambling resort Genting Highland.
"The gambling games allegedly took place at VIP rooms in Genting Highland and we have those photos," MAKI chairman Boyamin Saiman said in a video message.
He didn't say how the non-governmental organization obtained those photos.
Boyamin said that in addition to Genting Highland, the governor also has played table games at Crockfords Hotel Sentosa in Singapore and Solaire Resort & Casino and Entertainment City in Manila.
The activist urged law enforcement agencies to investigate if the governor has used taxpayers' money for his gambling habit.
"Apart from his alleged corruption, we need to know if he gambled with his own or someone else's money. We need to explain to the Papuan people that their leader is accused of corruption and he possibly has used [the stolen money] for gambling," Boyamin said.
Hundreds of Lukas' supporters staged a rally at the provincial capital of Jayapura earlier this week to prevent the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) from arresting him. Lukas has refused to surrender, citing medical reasons.
Boyamin claimed that he possesses information about the governor's overseas travel history, most recently in August. He said the governor has traveled to Australia, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines between December 2021 and August 2022 "likely to gamble".
The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) said two weeks ago that Lukas, who has been in office since 2013, has made payments of around 55 million Singapore dollars or US$39 million to overseas casinos since 2017.
The anti-money laundering agency also has frozen the governor's bank accounts at KPK's request. Lukas is currently banned from traveling overseas after the KPK began the investigation earlier this month.
The two-term governor has not responded to MAKI's statement but his defense team neither denies nor confirms allegations surrounding his gambling habit. An attorney for Lukas has said that the governor is a wealthy person and suggested that he can do anything he wants with his own money.
"He is a rich man. He has natural resources and gold. Why are the suspicions?" lawyer Aloysius Renwarin said on Sept. 20. "For the last 20 years, he has been serving his homeland where the biggest gold deposit is located in his district, in his place of birth," Aloysius said.
Stefanus Roy Rening, the head of the defense team, accused the government of launching a smear campaign with the revelations of the governor's lavish lifestyle and argued that the gambling issue has nothing to do with the ongoing graft investigation against his client.
"We don't want to discuss anything beyond the investigation, because we are defending the Papua governor against a suspected bribery allegation," Stefanus said.
"We cannot comment on other things which don't become the subject of the ongoing investigation."