The Complex Knot of Joko Tjandra’s Bribery
Following involvement of police officers, prosecutors and attorneys, the Joko Tjandra scandal has now spread to the Supreme Court. This shows the never-ending decay of our judicial system.
IT seems that Joko Tjandra knows exactly how the power of money is able to paralyze our judicial system. The man convicted of corruption in the 2009 Bank Bali cassie case, and who then went on the run, was helped by insiders to make use of this flaw to escape the clutches of the law.
While he was on the run, before he was arrested at the end of July, Joko planned everything. He lobbied everywhere. The latest evidence shows that he called Supreme Court chairman Hatta Ali in September last year. Joko, was represented by his attorney, Anita Kolopaking in the meeting with Hatta—who retire from his post in last May—in Thailand in the same month.
Joko’s efforts at the Supreme Court took place at the same time as his moves in the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). He used prosecutor Pinangki Sirna Malasari to communicate with Attorney General Sanitiar Burhanuddin. The aim was the same: to ensure that he kept his freedom. Pinangki, who is now a suspect for allegedly taking bribes, said that she always reported the meetings with the Interpol fugitive to the attorney general.
A similar operation was carried out with the National Police (Polri). Last month, the National Police Criminal Detectives Agency (Bareskrim) named one of the agency’s senior investigators, Brig. Gen. Prasetijo Utomo and chief of the Polri International Relations Division, Insp. Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte, as suspects. They are alleged to have helped Joko to leave and return to Indonesia when he was still on the run. Anita Kolopaking and businessman Tommy Sumardi have also been named suspects charged with using false documentation and paying bribes.
The investigation into this is being carried out separately in Polri and the AGO. As a result, so far only five people have been named as suspects: two police officers as well as a prosecutor, an attorney and a businessman. Given the size of the bribes that Joko was allegedly prepared to pay for his freedom, at over Rp140 billion, it seems impossible that only middle level officials such as Insp. Gen. Napoleon or prosecutor Pinangki were involved.
Given the poor reputation of the police and the AGO, it is difficult to hope that these crimes will be thoroughly investigated, especially if it is true that the operation to keep Joko free was also launched at the Supreme Court. In the past, the people were able to hope that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) would take control, but since this organization was paralyzed by the revised KPK Law drawn up by the House of Representatives and Joko Widodo’s administration, the chances of unraveling this case have vanished to almost nothing.
The Joko scandal clearly shows how the express revision of this law last year succeeded in hindering the endeavor to fight corruption. Under the leadership of a serving police officer, the KPK has lost its independence. As a result, the people can no longer hope that it will have the courage to take over the investigation into the Joko Tjandra bribery case.
Does this also mean that any hope that the Joko Tjandra scandal will be thoroughly investigated has also vanished? If there is a glimmer of hope, the rivalry between those hoping to reach the top levels in the AGO and Polri might provide it. We hope that the candidates for these posts will uncover the Joko scandal in order to improve their own image. They could even name colleagues believed to have been involved. Of course, this would not be ideal, and there is not much chance of it happening.