Yasonna Laoly Dismissed Immigration Chief Ronny Sompie over Graft Fugitive Saga

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Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly dismissed director general of immigration Ronny Sompie on Tuesday (28/1/2020). It was happened amid public uproar over the whereabouts of a graft fugitive, Harun Masiku.

Both men have delivered conflicting statements about Harun Masiku. This Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician was the subject of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)’s manhunt for allegedly bribing a general election commissioner to get a seat in the House of Representatives.

On Jan. 16, Yasonna said Harun Masiku was in Singapore when the KPK conducted a raid over the bribery case on Jan. 8. But, on the same day with Yasonna’s statement, Tempo newspaper reported that Harun had arrived in Jakarta a day before the raid was conducted.

As the controversy was heating up to a point that Yasonna was reported to the KPK. Yasonna  was called as “obstruction of justice” by an anti-corruption group. Then Ronny finally admitted that Harun had arrived in the Soekarno-Hatta Airport on Jan. 7. 

His statement was delivered two weeks after the KPK’s operation. At that time Harun has eluded justice.

There even was a comment came from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. He said all ministers should be very careful when making public statements.

Yasonna, after getting prompted from the mounting public criticisms, then he formed an independent investigation team involving various agencies.

On Tuesday, he announced that Ronny was dismissed to “prevent conflict of interests” during the investigation.

“We have formed an independent team comprising members from the Communication and Information Technology Ministry, the BSSN [National Cyber and Encryption Agency], the National Police’s criminal investigation agency and the Ombudsman,” Yasonna informed reporters in Jakarta.

“To prevent any conflict of interests, I have removed the director general of immigration,” he said.

For now, Justice Ministry’s inspector general Jhoni Ginting was appointed as interim director general of immigration. 

Not only Ronny, as what Yasonna said if Alif Suaidi, a director who oversees IT system at the immigration office, had been removed as well.

Task of investigation team is to find out why there was a very long delay before the accurate information about Harun’s arrival in the airport was released by the immigration office.

Anti-graft activists Indonesia Corruption Watch reported Yasonna, which also a PDI-P politician to the KPK because allegedly obstructing justice by concealing information about Harun’s whereabouts. But then he denied the accusation on Monday. Also he responded by announcing an independent fact-finding team involving officials from various agencies other than the Justice Ministry.

As reported previously, Harun is accused of bribing General Election Commission (KPU) commissioner Wahyu Setiawan. Harun bribed Wahyu  in purpose to fill a House seat vacated by fellow PDI-P politician Nazarudin Kiemas, who died before elected House members were sworn in last October. For now, Wahyu and two other suspects have been in the KPK custody, while Harun remains at large.

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