Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk
Controversial Papua New Guinea citizen Joe Chan has been arrested in Malaysia – this time under the name Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra.
And also this time as an Indonesian, a wanted and convicted fugitive and graft convict, reports the PNG Post-Courier.
He has been on the run for 11 years. Last Thursday he was brought back to Indonesia.
Guarded by personnel from the police’s Criminal Investigation Unit (Bareskrim), Tjandra landed at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in East Jakarta last Thursday evening.
Tjandra was first arrested in September 1999 for his involvement in the high-profile Bank Bali corruption case. He was acquitted by the South Jakarta District Court in 2000.
After the Attorney-General’s Office filed a request for review, the Supreme Court sentenced Tjandra to two years jail in 2009 and ordered him to pay Rp 546 billion (US$54 million) in restitution.
However, Tjandra fled to Papua New Guinea a day before the court ruling and had remained at large ever since.
PNG citizenship sparked inquiry
Controversially, Tjandra was granted PNG citizenship, which sparked criticism and prompted the Ombudsman Commission to launch an inquiry into the matter.
Bareskrim head Listyo Sigit Prabowo said the arrest had been made possible through cooperation between Indonesian police and their Malaysian counterparts.
“The National Police chief sent a letter to the Malaysian police to help with searching the fugitive and, Alhamdulillah [thank God], we managed to locate him [on Thursday] afternoon,” he said in a televised statement after arriving at the airport.
“This is also the answer to public doubts as to whether the police could catch [the fugitive], and today we have [delivered on] our commitment to arrest Djoko Tjandra,” Listyo said as he thanked the Malaysian police for cooperating with the arrest.
Following his arrival, Tjandra was immediately taken to the Bareskrim headquarters for further questioning.
Returned to Indonesia undetected
Tjandra recently made headlines as he managed to return to the country undetected and request a case review over his conviction with the South Jakarta District Court in early June.
He reportedly filed his plea after obtaining a new electronic ID card and passport, in addition to having his Interpol red notice status lifted.
The court, however, dropped his case review plea on Tuesday after Tjandra, who was reported to be residing in Malaysia, failed to show up for the hearing four times.
Tjandra’s legal team said that the fugitive was not able to attend trial due to his poor health.