Bengkulu Police Chief Scolded Over Controversial Novel Investigation
National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo reprimanded the chief of the Bengkulu Police for sending detectives to the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) office to arrest an investigator over an eight-year-old murder allegation.
“He [Bengkulu Police chief Julius Benny Mukalo] has been reprimanded. He was reprimanded directly. That reprimand is the sanction,” National Police Chief of Detectives Sutarman said on Wednesday.
Sutarman said that while the National Police deemed the attempted arrest just, there were “legal ethics and institutional ethics” that the officers failed to consider.
“The intention of the detectives was to go there to coordinate [their investigation] but it was seen as a raid,” Sutarman said, adding that the arrest attempt had been taken without the knowledge of the National Police.
Bengkulu Police sent detectives and military police to the KPK headquarters in Jakarta on Friday to arrest Comr. Novel Baswedan, an investigator with the KPK. The police claimed they had evidence that Novel abused and murdered a civilian in Bengkulu.
Novel had just finished an eight-hour interrogation of former Traffic Corps. chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, a suspect in a Rp 198 billion ($20.6 million) corruption case surround the procurement of driving simulators.
The KPK refused to comply with Bengkulu Police’s investigation.
The allegations came amid rising tensions between the two law enforcement agencies as the KPK’s investigation netted top cops with the National Police.
Twenty KPK investigators on loan from the National Police were yanked from rotation, regardless of their contracts, and five who refused to leave were told they faced sanctions.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono intervened on the case on Monday after weeks of public criticism over his inaction. He told the National Police that the timing of the investigation into Novel was problematic.
Yudhoyono also said that the KPK alone should handle the corruption case, effectively sidelining the National Police, who were committed to conducting their own parallel investigation.