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Indonesian cops, antigraft body in all-night standoff in investigation of police general
Publication Date : 01-08-2012
Investigators from the Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) usually need only a warrant to raid an office when looking for evidence in a graft investigation.
However, on Monday night, KPK commissioners Abraham Samad, Busyro Muqoddas and Bambang Widjojanto had to be called to the headquarters of the National Police Traffic Corps in South Jakarta to negotiate for the release of KPK investigators locked inside the building by irate officers.
The investigators were at the headquarters to collect evidence in their investigation of Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, former head of the Traffic Corps, who was recently named a suspect by the KPK in a multi-billion rupiah graft scandal involving the procurement of driving simulators.
The incident began on Monday afternoon, when 30 KPK investigators descended on the Traffic Corps' headquarters.
Initially, police officers on the scene did not interfere with the KPK. The situation, however, grew tense around 9.30 p.m., when detectives from the National Police's criminal investigations directorate allegedly impeded their peers from the KPK.
About half an hour later, an investigator contacted the commission's leaders to report.
"[KPK leaders] Abraham Samad, Busyro Muqqodas and Bambang Widjojanto, as well as National Police detective chief Comr. Gen. Sutarman, arrived at Traffic Corps headquarters around midnight," KPK spokesman Johan Budi told reporters at a press conference.
"They discussed the situation because there was a 'misunderstanding'," Budi said, adding that the investigators were eventually given the go ahead to proceed with the raid.
However, a source on the scene who declined to be named said that an argument broke out and lasted until around 4 a.m., forcing the KPK commissioners and the investigators to have their pre-dawn meals for the Ramadan fast inside the police compound.
"The KPK leaders, Pak Sutarman and a few detectives continued to have their discussion in a conference room on the third floor," the source said. "The KPK leaders told them that they needed the documents for investigation and wanted to take them."
According to the source, the two sides agreed that the KPK commissioners should meet with National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo to settle the dispute.
"While their leaders were negotiating, the investigators hung out inside the building with their KPK vests on. They were not allowed to take them off," the source said.
Around 5 a.m., the KPK team collected and sealed documents collected during the raid and locked them in a room that was then placed under guard by KPK investigators and National Police detectives.
The National Police have insisted that the documents not be taken into as evidence, claiming that their detectives have already launched their own investigation of the allegations.
Budi told reporters yesterday that the officers from the National Police had reneged on an agreement to allow the KPK team to take the documents with them.
"The reality on the ground is different. As of [around 5 p.m.] the documents were still locked in a room in the building, pending the meeting between KPK leaders and the National Police chief," he said.
At around 1:30 p.m. the KPK investigators returned to their headquarters and the National Police allowed the documents to leave the building in the evening.
At their joint press conference yesterday, Budi and National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar announced that Susilo, who currently serves as the Police Academy governor, was named a suspect in the graft case, which caused billions rupiah in state losses.
Susilo was alleged to have accepted 2 billion rupiah (US$212,000) in bribes to award the 189 billion rupiah ($20 million) project to PT Citra Mandiri Metalindo, which later subcontracted the project to PT Inovasi Teknologi Indonesia.