Djoko Seeking to Quash Conviction While on the Run
Heru Andriyanto, Febriamy Hutapea & Farouk Arnaz
The National Police on Monday enlisted the help of Interpol to capture fugitive businessman Djoko Tjandra, who fled abroad on the eve of a corruption conviction on June 11.
Djoko, who is believed to be in Singapore, has refused to return home to begin serving a two-year prison sentence for his role in the 1999 Bank Bali scandal.
Police officials put Djoko on their most wanted list last week after he ignored three summonses to surrender to the South Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office to serve his prison sentence.
The businessman’s lawyer earlier said Djoko would return on June 21 from Papua New Guinea, where he was said to be tidying some business affairs. Instead, Djoko remained at large and his defense team was in a Jakarta district court on Monday demanding a case review of his conviction by the Supreme Court.
Also on Monday, the Attorney General’s Office received from Bank Permata the sum of Rp 546 billion ($53.5 million), which was at the center of the Bank Bali scandal.
Interpol is the world’s largest international police organization, with 187 members, including Indonesia and Singapore.
“We officially sent a ‘red notice’ to Interpol to enlist their help in capturing Djoko,” said National Police Chief Detective Comr. Gen. Susno Djuadi. “We distributed the [most wanted list] to all the local police to help capture Djoko if they find him here.”
Marwan Effendy, deputy attorney general for special crimes, said he believed Djoko was in Singapore, which has become the refuge of choice for wanted and convicted Indonesian tycoons because Indonesia does not have an active extradition treaty with the city-state. Indonesia and Singapore signed a treaty in April 2007 on extradition and defense issues, but the House of Representatives refused to ratify it because it objects to some of the military-related provisions.
Otto Cornelius Kaligis, Djoko’s defense attorney, told the South Jakarta District Court on Monday that the Supreme Court was wrong to convict his client based on a case review request filed by the AGO 10 years after the Bank Bali scandal first broke.
Djoko was previously acquitted on corruption charges related to the scandal, which was upheld upon appeal. However, the Supreme Court accepted a case review request by the AGO and then sentenced him to two years along with former central bank Governor Sjahril Sabirin.
Kaligis slammed the conviction as a “fatal mistake,” asserting that state prosecutors do not have the authority to request case reviews. “The right to file a case review is limited to convicted persons and their families,” Kaligis said. “The Supreme Court’s verdict is against the law because it’s based on a case review filed by prosecutors.”
However, prosecutor Imanuel Rudy Pailang said Monday’s case review request by Djoko’s defense team had no legal standing because, under Indonesian law, only one review request is allowed per case. Emerson Yuntho, deputy head of Indonesia Corruption Watch, urged the district court to throw out Djoko’s request.
He said, “The judges at the South Jakarta District Court must reject the request by Djoko Tjandra, or we will report them to the Judicial Commission and the Supreme Court.”