Crucial documents from a high-profile meat import bribery case failed to appear in court. The documents consist, among others, financial records of funds channeled to the police's top brass.
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The expression of Adj. Sr. Comr. Roland Ronaldy suddenly turned bleak when a team from Indonesialeaks presented eight copies of investigation documents with a Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) header printed on it. With a heightened voice, the Cirebon Police Chief tried his best to dodge our questions. “Isn’t this a confidential matter? Why mention it again?” said Roland at his office on October 8.
Roland was tight-lipped when grilled with questions surrounding the investigation documents. He shook his head several times while demanding that we stop asking about the documents' whereabouts. “That’s old news, just drop it,” said Roland.
The Police Academy graduate of class 2001 even lashed out to a journalist from Indonesialeaks after he felt uncomfortable with the journalist’s recording him with a camcorder. He furiously summoned a policeman into his office while pointing at the camera. “Please, erase that!” he said.
Roland was irked by the questions about the missing investigation documents related to an "internal scandal" that forced him out of the KPK. The documents were copies of an investigation report of CV Sumber Laut Perkasa’s finance department employee, Kumala Dewi Sumartono, on March 9, 2017.
Kumala was questioned and investigated upon as a witness for Ng Fenny, a suspect in the bribery case that incriminated Basuki Hariman, who bribed Constitutional Court justice Patrialis Akbar on January 2017. The bribe was related to the judicial review of the Law on Cattle and Animal Health that would impact the future of meat importers such as Basuki, with Kumala and NG Fenny who acted as Basuki’s trusted subordinates.
According to the contents of the documents, Kumala was questioned by investigator Surya Tarmiani. Based on the investigation warrant signed by KPK deputy chief Laode Muhammad Syarif on January 26, 2017, there were 12 investigators tasked to handle Basuki Hariman’s meat import bribery case. Among them were Surya Tarmiani, Roland, HN. Christiaan, Muslimin, Rufriyanto M. Yusuf, Hendry S. Sianipar, and Harun.
The documents landed on the desk of Indonesialeaks several months earlier. An informant sent the documents together with a brief chronology of the case and several other supporting documents such as a bank record book.
Indonesialeaks is a platform for public informants to anonymously share crucial documents on newsworthy scandals. The anonymity is meant to guarantee the safety of the informants.
Nine news agencies joining the Indonesialeaks team have collaborated to have a closer look into each piece of information received. There are at least four KPK members who validated the legitimacy of the documents presented to Roland.
Surya balked at commenting on the investigation documents when our team met him at the KPK headquarters on Friday, September 21. “That is quite an old case. You can go and ask our leader,” he said.
However, when asked to confirm the validity of the documents, KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo gave an off-the-record answer instead.
The documents comprised Kumala’s statement regarding Basuki’s expense records that supposedly involved the police's top brass. In the investigation, the financial records originate from a red and black-colored passbook that was confiscated by the KPK after they raided Basuki’s office in Sunter in January.
Kumala told a corruption court on July 3 that the passbook was made at the behest of Basuki and her general manager, Ng Fenny. “I was only doing what I was ordered to. It’s in the passbook,” said Kumala. The financial records were under the identity of Serang Noor IR, with account number of 4281755*** at Sunter Mall’s BCA Bank. Serang Noor is also one of Basuki’s subordinates.
Less than a month after the investigation, a KPK investigator handling Kumala’s case had an incident, in which his laptop was stolen by an unknown person as Surya was exiting a taxi that stopped in front of his apartment in Setiabudi, South Jakarta. Surya had just returned from Yogyakarta where he met with a key witness in the Patrialis Akbar bribery case.
The stolen laptop contained key evidence of the case involving Basuki Hariman. Among the pieces of evidence were two scans of Basuki’s company bank passbook. Surya answered briefly when asked for confirmation, “You can go ahead and ask our leader or spokesman,” said Surya.
KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah said that the agency’s internal investigators responded to the stolen laptop incident by clarifying it to Surya. The KPK team also accompanied Surya when he filed a police report regarding the laptop. “This is the standard in KPK whenever official office equipment is lost,” said Febri. He then confirmed that Surya was a member of the team that handled the meat import bribery case, and that he once questioned Kumala in person.
Less than a week after the KPK’s laptop was stolen, the commission's internal affairs received a report of a piece of evidence that was allegedly removed by Roland Ronaldy and Comr. Harun, both were KPK investigators from the police who also handled Basuki’s bribery case. Both men reportedly expunged 15 pages worth of record in the passbook that documented expense records that took place on April 7, 2017. They allegedly covered the names of the fund receivers with type-x ink erasers and ripped the pages off the passbook.
The evidence tampering left the bank passbook with only 12 pages and transaction dates that are out of order. The records that the book contained were filled with names of known public figures, code names, and numerous state agencies that recorded the flow of funds in US dollar, Singapore dollar, and rupiah. The bank passbook’s "credit" in the first four pages saw funds amounting to Rp38 billion since December 2015 up to October 2016. The largest flow of funds to an individual contained in the passbook was Rp3.7 billion.
Not only did Roland and Harun tamper the evidence by ripping the pages, they also changed Kumala’s investigation report that contained explanation of Basuki’s financial records in both of the bank passbooks.
The documents at the court trial did not present an investigation report on Kumala by investigator Surya Tarmiani that happened on March 9, 2017, which Indonesialeaks obtained.
The court trial document suggests that other KPK investigators repeatedly questioned Kumala from February-April 2017. However, the documents did not mention Kumala’s statement regarding the flow of funds for the high-ranking police officers—the same happened at the trial of the meat import case.
Kumala’s questioning on April 15, 2017, which was handled by Roland, never mentioned again the red bank passbook and a number of missing documents that were mentioned in previous questionings. Based on the files Indonesialeaks received, Roland only asked Kumala to explain a number of evidence pieces related to the purchase of a foreign exchange, which was used as a court justice document to incriminate Ng Fenny.
According to an internal investigation report, Roland and Harun committed multiple violations, however, the KPK chairman only punished them by sending them back to the police institution.
KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo said the decommissioning of Roland and Harun was in fact a harsh punishment. Agus refused to respond to questions asking why the KPK did not sue both men for tampering with legal evidence. “That is a severe punishment that can be handed to members of the police institution, judiciaries, and other institutions,” said Agus Rahardjo.
The documents of both's withdrawal from the KPK only stated that they were involved in a case. The KPK then handed over their investigation to the police’s internal affairs, which eventually saw that the allegation of evidence tampering cannot be proven.
Rather than punishing both men, the careers of Roland and Harun had a surprising turn when on March 2018 Roland was appointed as Cirebon City Police Chief after his appointment as a staff member in the International Relations Division in the National Police Headquarters (Mabes Polri). Meanwhile, Harun was given a ticket to enroll at the National Police Junior Staff School (Sespimmen) as of October 27, 2017, which was something that Harun sought for years his first attempt fell short.
Harun’s career substantially improved after graduating from the school, that led him to a position at the Jakarta Police's special criminal investigation directorate. Prior to entering the Sespimmen, Harun once took the position as the head of the police’s corruption case unit and was promoted to the Jakarta Police's chief of fiscal, monetary, and foreign exchange sub-directorate.
Harun chose to reveal nothing when asked for confirmation on the scandal that incriminated him and refused to answer questions from journalists who met him at his house in the Palmerah area, West Jakarta.
According to Brig. Gen. Muhammad Iqbal, who was interviewed when he was the National Police's spokesman, there was nothing wrong with the police’s decision on Roland's and Harun’s alleged violation as KPK investigators.
Iqbal asserted that the decommissioning of Roland and Harun had nothing to do with the alleged evidence tampering and deemed that their work duration as investigators was enough. “Both investigators were commissioned back to the National Police because their service period was ending,” said Muhammad Iqbal.
According to the investigation documents Indonesialeaks obtained, which were supposedly never presented to court, Surya asked Kumala to shed light on transactions posted into Serang Noor's red bank passbook. The funds were flowing in rupiah, US dollar and Singaporean dollar and not all the names of recepients were clearly stated—some of them were in initials.
Based on the copies of the investigation reports, there were 19 transactions to individuals linked to the National Police. The records pinpointed the person receiving the largest money from Basuki and some others was Tito Karnavian, who was identified as Kapolda (provincial police chief)/Tito or simply Tito.
Kumala explained that the interrogation documents revealed that money was wired to Tito when he was still chief of the Jakarta Police from June 2015-March 2016. Four other flows of funds to Tito took place when he was chief of the National Counter-terrorism Agency (BNPT) from March-July 2016. Another transfer was made after he was tapped as chief of the National Police. Each transaction amounted to some Rp1 billion.
There were also other names from the National Police headquarters and the Jakarta Police mentioned. Kumala said the money was always handed directly by Basuki or other people he appointed. Kumala, however, was kept in the dark as to the purpose behind each transaction and told only to record them instead.
National Police chief Tito Karnavian was non-committal when asked about this issue and said instead that he had delegated the questions to a police spokesman. “It’s been answered by the spokesman,” said Tito.
Iqbal dismissed the allegations of wired funds to Tito, saying that the red bank passbook may not contain validated records. “That is not true, the National Police Chief never accepted the money. He faced similar accusations when he was the chief of the Papua Police, and it had been clarified,” said Iqbal.
Kumala also declined our request for an interview. The Indonesialeaks team met a young man who claimed to be her son, who said, “Mother does not want to talk about that again.”
Basuki, meanwhile, lost his temper when he was met at the Tangerang Penitentiary. “I refuse. I refuse to be interviewed about that matter,” said Basuki, who is currently serving seven years' imprisonment.
Gadjah Mada University’s Anti-Corruption Study Center Advocacy director, Oce Madril, has called on the KPK to investigate the flows of funds revealed by Kumala. He said the case on the evidence that was tampered with could be solved by looking into the CCTV recording and witnesses' testimonies. “It is now up to the political will of KPK leaders,” said Oce.
KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo said that the agency had kept all evidence locked in their evidence room. He claimed that he failed to understand why the investigation records on Kumala were not repaired after they were tampered with. “I do not know the details,” said Agus.
The investigation into the controversial red bank passbook was likely to stay in limbo after the KPK expelled Roland and Harun. To date, the KPK has yet to summon other witnesses for the case. “We will look deeper if there are new findings. But I have not received any report from investigators,” said Agus.