Indonesia Weighs Options For Extraditing Fugitive Hiding In PNG

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Internal investigation by PNG into legality of citizenship considered

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 24, 2012) – Indonesia’s Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is stepping up efforts to extradite fraud convict Djoko Tjandra from Indonesia’s neighboring nation of Papua New Guinea.

Djoko, who fled a day before he was sentenced to prison for fraud by the Supreme Court in 2009, reportedly secured PNG citizenship.

He was convicted of misusing Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support (BLBI) funds in the Bank Bali case.

Deputy Attorney General Darmono in a statement said that the government had several options in pursuing Djoko’s extradition.

"One of the solutions that we proposed is requesting mutual legal assistance [MLA] from the Papua New Guinea government.

With the MLA, we would urge Papua New Guinea to conduct an internal investigation of Djoko Tjandra’s citizenship," Darmono said.

The government would first verify if Djoko had received citizenship from PNG, Darmono said in a statement on Sunday.

"We have also asked the PNG government to send us copy of Djoko Tjandra’s citizenship documents, to see what legal basis he used to obtain citizenship," he said.

Darmono said that he suspected that Djoko falsified legal documents when applying for PNG citizenship, as Djoko was a fugitive and would have had to have concealed information when applying for citizenship.

"We have to find which regulations he [allegedly] violated during the application process, so that the PNG government will know that he did not follow legal procedure. By then, the PNG authorities can send him back to Indonesia," he said.

Peter Ilau, Papua New Guinea’s Ambassador to Indonesia, said on July 12 that Djoko had obtained PNG citizenship in June.

Djoko left Indonesia on a chartered flight from Halim Perdanakusumah Airport in East Jakarta on June 10, just one day before the Supreme Court issued its decision on the AGO’s case review.

The court sentenced Djoko and former Bank Indonesia governor Syahril Sabirin to two years’ imprisonment and ordered Djoko to pay Rp 546 billion (US$54 million) in restitution for illegally disbursing BLBI funds to Bank Bali in 1999, causing Rp 546 billion (US$57.8 million) in state losses.

Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin said that the lack of an extradition treaty between Indonesia and PNG would make the process more difficult.

"Papua New Guinea has its own legal system, and we need to respect it," Amir said on Sunday as quoted by Antara news wire.

Separately, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Djoko’s PNG citizenship would not affect bilateral relations.

"We have talked with the AGO, and the National Police. Any Indonesian fugitive shall be repatriated, based on their legal status," Marty said on Saturday. "Of course, we will facilitate the process and we will fight for it."

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