Indonesia's Missing Magazines

Indonesia's highly respected Tempo Magazine is reprinting 30,000 copies of its current edition after a group of mystery buyers frantically swooped down on news venders in Jakarta Sunday night and attempted to buy up all the copies of the magazine in an effort to silence a story about six top national police officials with millions of dollars in unexplained funds in their bank accounts.

"Somebody there has the mentality of the Suharto era," said a Tempo editor. "Don't they realize that by doing that, they are augmenting the story?" No one knows the identity of the buyers, but they are presumed to be people connected to the police, the editor said, saying the buyers told vendors: "Don't even open the bundles. Just give us all of them."

Windalaksana, Tempo's head of circulation, distribution and marketing, told local media that the magazines, illustrated with a front cover of a police officer being led by three leashed piggy banks, were purchased from almost every one of its 29 agents in the Greater Jakarta area.

The story and its aftermath have caused a storm in Indonesia, with buyers clamoring for copies and vendors offering the ones they have left for double the price. Subscribers got their copies of the Indonesian-language magazine in the mail, the editor said.

Indonesia's national police force is widely regarded as hopelessly corrupt. The magazine's website printed the names of these officials, with these amounts in their bank accounts, and their responses to questions about the accounts:

"1. Inspector General Mathius Salempang, East Kalimantan Provincial Police Chief

Wealth: Rp8,553,417,116 (US$ 947,222) and US$59,842 (as of May 22nd 2009)

Allegation: Owns Rp2,088,000,000 from unclear source. On July 29th 2005, the account was closed and Mathius transferred Rp2 billion to other account under another person's name whose relation with Mathius is unknown. Two days later the money was withdrawn and deposited to Mathius' time deposit account.

Response: "I just knew this from you" (June 24th 2010)

"2. Inspector General Sylvanus Yulian Wenas, Chief of the Mobile Brigade Special Unit

Wealth: Rp6,535,536,503 US$723,758.1952) (August 25th 2005)

Allegation: From his accounts Rp10,007,939,259 was transferred to a person claiming to be a Director of PT Hinroyal Golden Wing. Rp3 billion and US$100,000 was transferred on July 27th 2005, and later US$670,031 on August 9th 2005.

Response: "The fund was not mine." (June 24th 2010)

"3. Inspector General Budi Gunawan, Head of Police internal affairs

Kekayaan: Rp 4.684.153.542 (US$518,732.3967) (August 19th 2008)

Allegation: Made huge transactions. Opened bank account and put in with his son Rp29 billion and Rp25 billion respectively.

Response: "The report is completely not true." (June 25th 2010)

"4. Inspector General Badrodin Haiti, Head of the Police's Law Development Division

Wealth: Rp2,090,126,258 (US$231,464.) and US$4.000 (as of March 24th 2008)

Allegations: Bought insurance from PT Prudential Life Assurance at Rp1.1 billion. Source of fund is a third party. Withdrew Rp700 million and took monthly payment.

Response: "It is completely the authority of the Investigation and Crime Unit Chief." (June 24th 2010)

"5. Commissioner General Susno Duadji, ex-Chief of the Investigation and Crime Unit

Wealth: Rp1,587,812,155 (US$175,837) (as of 2008)

Allegations: Took Rp2,62 billion from a lawyer and received fund transfers from a businessman totaling Rp3.97 billion.

Response: "We have never discuss the suspicious transactions." (M. Assegaf, Defense lawyer for Susno Duadji - June 24th 2010)

"6. Inspector General Bambang Suparno, Lecturer at the Police Academy for Senior Officers

Wealth: Unidentified

Allegations: Bought insurance with Rp250 million premium in May 2006. Received transfers totaling Rp11.4 billion from January 2006 until August 2007. He withdrew Rp3 billion on November 2006.

Response: "There is no problem with the transactions. It happened when I was still in Aceh." (June 24th 2010)

Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission, known by its Indonesian-language initials KPK, said Sunday is investigating suspicious bank accounts containing Rp 95 billion ($10.45 million) allegedly belonging to a two-star police general identified only as "BG," almost two months after the official was named by Indonesia Corruption Watch, an antigraft NGO.

Haryono Umar, deputy chairman of the KPK, said the chief of its graft prevention division, Eko Soesamto Tjiptadi, would lead the probe against the general. Only one BG appears on the list -- Inspector General Budi Gunawan, Head of Police internal affairs. The unnamed official's asset declaration, required by the KPK of all public officials, put his total wealth at only Rp 4.7 billion.

"We will seek clarification in the near future because there is a huge discrepancy between the allegations and [BG's] asset declaration," Haryono said. The investigation team will not include any police investigators stationed at the KPK, to avoid a conflict of interest, he added.

The questioned wealth was first made public by Indonesia Corruption Watch in early May

through a report filed with the Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force.

The documents submitted by Corruption Watch included proof that the generalhad two bank accounts containing Rp 47 billion and Rp 48 billion, and evidence of money transfers into his accounts from individuals and private companies from 2005 to 2008.

"There were indications of bribery and illegal gratuities in the accounts," ICW chairman Danang Widoyoko said. "The KPK must investigate how a police officer can have Rp 95 billion in his accounts and from where it originates."

Gunawan immediately said he was considering filing a complaint against Corruption Watch despite the fact that he was not named and other police officials said they might file complaints against the watchdog organization for breaching secrecy rules governing bank accounts.

"Allegations of the accounts are untrue," he said at the time. "The accusations were slander and an attempt to weaken and assassinate my character and that of the National Police as an institution," adding that Corruption Watch had no authority to release the data.

National Police chief of detectives Comr. Gen. Ito Sumardi has pledged to prosecute whoever leaked the report to Corruption Watch.