Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Robertus Wardi
Lawmakers and an NGO have questioned the “peculiarity” of Wednesday’s arrest of graft fugitive Neneng Sri Wahyuni, challenging the dismissal of a claim that she turned herself in and questioning her ability to pass immigration checkpoints undetected.
Ahmad Basarah, a lawmaker with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said Neneng would not have returned to the country if she had had no intention of turning herself in.
A claim by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) that she was arrested is thus questionable, Ahmad said in Jakarta on Thursday.
“I think Neneng returned to Indonesia because she indeed wanted to turn herself in, so that her legal case can be immediately settled,” he said. “I think she’s also tired of being on the run all the time. Besides, her children are still so young.”
Another lawmaker, Aboebakar Al-Ethiopia from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), voiced a similar notion, saying Neneng deliberately returned to Indonesia because she wanted to surrender to the KPK.
He further questioned the KPK’s inability to arrest her sooner, when they were able to nab Neneng’s husband Muhammad Nazaruddin, a graft fugitive in another case, in Cartagena, Colombia, in August of last year.
Neneng fled Indonesia with Nazaruddin in late May 2011, before she was named a suspect by the KPK in August in a corruption case surrounding a Manpower and Transmigration Ministry solar energy procurement project. Neneng was the finance director of Anugerah Nusantara, the company that won the project. Anugerah is a subsidiary of Permai Group, owned by Nazaruddin.
The head of the Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, Hendardi, also voiced his suspicion surrounding the arrest of Neneng, highlighting the immigration office’s inability to detect her entrance.
“Neneng’s return home is peculiar because she easily passed the immigration when she has been enlisted among those banned from leaving the country. This is a serious problem with Indonesia’s immigration,” Hendardi said.
Indonesia’s immigration office spokesman, Maryoto Sumadi, said earlier on Thursday morning that Neneng was not tracked entering Indonesia.
Maryoto said inspections of data from the immigration offices at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and in Batam found no documentation of Neneng’s recent return to Jakarta.
“The name in question does not exist in the data, and is not listed at the immigration crossings,” he said.
Neneng, according to KPK deputy chief Bambang Widjojanto, arrived in Riau Islands’ Batam on Tuesday. She is suspected of having taken a ferry from Kuala Lumpur.
She landed at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, but was only arrested in her home in Pejaten, South Jakarta, four hours later.
In a KPK press conference on Wednesday evening, Bambang firmly denied the claims of Neneng’s supposed lawyer that she had turned herself in, and pointed out that Neneng had not in fact officially appointed any legal counsel.
Rufinus Hutauruk, claiming to be Neneng’s lawyer, said shortly after the arrest, as quoted by Metro TV, “She [Neneng] has just returned from Kuala Lumpur. She returned on her own initiative.”