Indonesia To Investigate Fugitive's PNG Citizenship Status

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PNG accused of ignoring letters asking for Tjandra’s location

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 6, 2012) – The Indonesian Government will send a team to Port Moresby next week to clarify reports that tycoon and fugitive Joko Soegiarto Tjandra had been granted citizenship in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The Indonesian Government, in a statement yesterday advised they will send a team from the Indonesian Attorney-General’s office, Foreign Affairs and Immigration to PNG to advance their search for the fugitive and to confirm reports of the latter.

Deputy Attorney General Darmono in a statement this week said that the Indonesian Government had sent several official letters to the Government of Papua New Guinea requesting information on the whereabouts of the wanted fugitive after learning that Tjandra was "holed" up in Port Moresby controlling shares in a number of plantation companies in PNG.

The Indonesian Government has accused PNG of ignoring its letters of requests and concerns adding that PNG never sought advice from the Indonesian authorities before granting Tjandra citizenship in the country.

"We are aware of the reports, and we need them [Papua New Guinea] to confirm if the information is true," Darmono said.

"That is why we are sending a team to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to clarify reports that tycoon and fraud fugitive Joko Soegiarto Tjandra had been granted citizenship in the neighboring country," he said.

The Post-Courier broke the story last month reporting that Joko Tjandra was among several foreigners given certificates of citizenship by the Immigration and Citizenship Advisory Committee of Papua New Guinea which were approved by PNG Foreign Minister Ano Pala.

Other reports, however, said that Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had ordered the Indonesian’s citizenship revoked. And Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah also ordered an investigation into the awarding of Tjandra the citizenship certificate despite not complying with the regulations, laws and procedures of the Citizenship Act of PNG.

Darmono said in his statement that the AGO had never received official information from PNG.

"We have sent official letters concerning Joko’s alleged whereabouts in the country, but never received any response," Darmono said.

Joko reportedly flew to Port Moresby on chartered flight from Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta on June 10, the day before the Supreme Court issued a decision on the AGO’s case review, convicting and sentencing Joko to two

years’ imprisonment and ordering the businessman to pay Rp 546 billion (US$58.42 million) in restitution to the state.

He went missing since then, and has been on the run now controlling shares in a number of plantation companies in Papua New Guinea and engaged in a

rice company in Central Province.

Robert Akunaii, the man who vigorously pursued the matter through the media, last night said the latest turn of events showed that the people involved in granting citizenship would now be come under scrutiny.

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