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Papua Officer Tied to Fuel Smuggling & Illegal Logging

Papua Officer Tied to RP 1.5 Trillion from Fuel Smuggling and Illegal Logging

May 15, 2013

The Jakarta Globe
By Banjir Ambarita

Jayapura. Police in Papua have made a shocking
revelation linking bank transactions totaling Rp
1.5 trillion ($154 million) to a low-ranking
police officer suspected of massive fuel smuggling and illegal logging.

Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian, the provincial police
chief, said on Tuesday that the figure was based
on a report from the Financial Transaction
Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), the
government’s anti-money-laundering watchdog.

He was quick to add that the Rp 1.5 trillion was
not the amount of money in the account belonging
to the officer, identified as Adj. First Insp.
Labora Sitorus, but that it was the accumulated
value of transactions through the account from 2007 to 2012.

“Some of the transactions amounted to hundreds of
millions of rupiah or even billions of rupiah at a time,” Tito said.

“As for the current balance in the account, that’s still beinginvestigated.”

He added that police were investigating Labora,
whose rank would entitle him to a monthly salary
of no more than Rp 4 million, and that they had
linked him to the smuggling of massive quantities of fuel.

“We’re looking into the alleged misuse of the
fuel, which we suspect is the source of the money,” the police chief said.

“Our investigators have already seized 1,000 tons
of fuel in Sorong district belonging to the officer.”

However, he said that Labora — based in West Papua’s Sorong

district, which falls under the Papua Police’s
jurisdiction — had not been charged with any
crime yet and was still being treated as a witness.

Speculation is rife that Labora oversaw a
syndicate that siphoned fuel from tankers out at
sea and brought it to shore to sell. Tito did not
deny the possibility and said that investigators
were still trying to confirm where the fuel came from.

Police have also seized an undisclosed quantity
of timber linked to the officer, prompting
suspicion that he was also involved in illegal logging.

“We’re still looking into that, but the initial
data suggests that the timber was bought from local people,” Tito said.

Police have identified two companies linked to
the fuel and the timber, but have yet to confirm
that Labora was involved with either of them.

“If we can make that connection, then his legal
status will be changed from witness to suspect,” Tito said.

A police source, who declined to be named, told
the Jakarta Globe that police had identified 15
containers of timber that had arrived at
Surabaya’s Tanjung Perak Port last week as belonging to Labora.

The source also claimed that Labora kicked most
of the money up the provincial police’s chain of
command, and was considered the biggest earner in
the force for high-ranking officers before Tito
took over as the provincial police chief last
September from the now-retired Insp. Gen. Bigman Lumban Tobing.

Tempo.co quoted another police source saying that
senior officers had been aware of Labora’s
illegal activities for years and that he wielded
control over the lush forested islands in the
Raja Ampat archipelago, the alleged source of the timber.

This is not the first allegation of a police
officer handling huge sums of money from illegal
activity, but it is the first leveled against a low-ranking officer.

In June 2010, Tempo Magazine carried an in-depth
report based on PPATK data indicating that 23
police generals and high-ranking officers were in
possession of suspiciously large bank accounts.

Days after the story broke, unknown perpetrators
threw Molotov cocktails at the Tempo office, and
a group of assailants attacked an Indonesia
Corruption Watch researcher who was involved in
breaking the story. No arrests were made in
either case, while the National Police cleared
all the top officers of any wrongdoing.

Two police generals, Djoko Susilo and Didik
Purnomo, the former head and deputy head,
respectively, of the National Police’s traffic
division, are currently in custody for massive
bribery linked to the procurement of driving simulators.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has
to date seized 41 assets linked to Djoko,
including land, more than a dozen homes, four cars and six buses.

Djoko had reportedly registered the assets under
the names of multiple family members and had
amassed Rp 100 billion — a substantial amounnt
for an official with a monthly salary of Rp 30 million.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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