Police Commission Finds Irregularities in Officer Novel’s Case
Bengkulu. The National Police Commission has decided to add its two cents to the standoff between the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the National Police by submitting the findings of a probe it conducted into the case of police investigator Novel Baswedan.
On Saturday, the leader of the inquiry by the commission known as Kompolnas, Comr. Syafriadi Cut Ali, told journalists in Bengkulu that his team had concluded its investigation of Novel’s case, which has served as the latest flash point in an ongoing spat between the National Police and KPK.
The Kompolnas inquiry included addressing whether police fabricated the case against Novel and pinning down his precise role in a murder and abuse case in which he was implicated eight years ago as a police officer in Bengkulu.
“The third [issue addresses] the professionalism of police officers in Bengkulu in investigating this case until [it was handed over to] an ethics tribunal by the provost in 2004,” Syafriadi said, as quoted by Antara news agency on Saturday.
The office of the provost was the precursor to today’s Police Professionalism and Security Affairs (Propam) division.
Syafriadi said he could not publicly reveal the results of the investigation, but he confirmed that there were irregularities in Novel’s case, particularly in the conclusions of a 2004 investigation carried out by the provost.
Novel was sanctioned with a seven-day detention for the 2004 incident, in which an alleged thief was killed and several others were abused by police officers. While claiming that he was not directly responsible for the violence perpetrated by his subordinate officers, Novel took a measure of responsibility due to his supervisory role.
“There are several explanations [given by witnesses who testified in the Kompolnas probe] that contradict one another,” Syafriadi said.
“The provost’s [investigation in 2004] also failed to give a clear recommendation as to whether the police officers involved in the case committed the crimes.”
Kompolnas will submit its findings to Djoko Suyanto, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs.
Bengkulu Police recently sent detectives and military police to the KPK headquarters in Jakarta to arrest Novel, an investigator on loan from the National Police to the KPK. The police claimed they had new evidence of Novel’s direct involvement in the murder and abuse case, which was closed in 2004.
Novel had just finished an eight-hour interrogation of former National Police Traffic Corps chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, a suspect in a corruption case involving the procurement of driving simulators, when Bengkulu officers arrived at the KPK building to detain him on Oct. 5.
The KPK has refused to comply with the Bengkulu Police’s investigation.
The attempt to arrest Novel came amid rising tensions between the two law enforcement agencies, as the KPK’s driving simulator investigation has fingered several National Police members.
In a move critics labeled retaliatory, 20 KPK investigators on loan from the National Police were yanked from the antigraft body last month, and five who refused to leave, including Novel, were told they would face sanctions for failing to comply with their return orders.