Jakarta brings home graft fugitive from Malaysia after years on the run

Djoko Tjandra first fled Indonesia in 2009 to Papua New Guinea, before allegedly living in various other countries.
Djoko Tjandra first fled Indonesia in 2009 to Papua New Guinea, before allegedly living in various other countries.

Indonesian police have brought home from Malaysia graft fugitive Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra, who fled the country 11 years ago after being convicted in a high-profile bank bailout embezzlement.

National chief detective Commissioner General Listyo Sigit told reporters late on Thursday that the arrest of Djoko was a result of cooperation between the Indonesian and Malaysian police forces.

A handcuffed Djoko arrived at Halim Perdanakusuma international airport in Jakarta on Thursday night flanked by Gen Listyo and his team. They flew from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport in Kuala Lumpur using a private jet hired by the police.

"President (Joko Widodo) instructed us to search for and immediately arrest Djoko Tjandra and get to the bottom of his case, so it is all clear," Gen Listyo told reporters upon arrival at the Jakarta airport.

Djoko recently made the headlines when he managed to return to Indonesia undetected and was issued a new local identity card. He also filed a Supreme Court Civil Review appeal against his two years' jail sentence.

His case tarnished the image of law enforcement under Mr Joko's administration.

Djoko had first fled to Papua New Guinea in 2009, before he allegedly moved to live in various other countries. He holds a Papua New Guinea passport.

He took a private jet to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea from Jakarta on June 10, 2009, just a day before Indonesia's Supreme Court slapped him with a two-year jail sentence for helping to arrange an illegal 546 billion rupiah (S$52 million) fee paid to his company by three troubled banks bailed out by the government.

On Thursday, Indonesian police also declared lawyer Anita Kolopaking a suspect. She allegedly helped to arrange the issuance of a new identity card for Djoko and the filing of a court appeal on June 8.

 
 

After returning to Indonesia, for probably a few months, Djoko fled to Malaysia via Pontianak in West Kalimantan province.

The police said Djoko was assisted by three rogue police generals, who allegedly provided him with the required travel clearances, including an affidavit stating that he had tested negative for the coronavirus. The three police officers have since been suspended and are being investigated.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2020, with the headline 'Jakarta brings home graft fugitive from Malaysia after years on the run'. Print Edition | Subscribe