Wednesday , February 28 2024

Indonesia arrests Papua governor in corruption probe

Indonesian anti-graft investigators arrested Papua’s governor on Tuesday in a corruption probe on suspicion of accepting bribes linked to infrastructure projects in the restive eastern province, officials said.

Authorities have accused Lukas Enembe, 55, of granting contracts – worth up to 40 billion rupiah ($2.57 million) between 2019 and 2021 – for construction projects to a company with an inexperienced track record in the sector.

He was accused in September of accepting a bribe of one billion rupiah from the company but failed to respond to several summonses to Jakarta from anti-graft authorities, citing health reasons.

“It is true that today our investigators have arrested the suspect L. E. in Papua. Currently, he is on his way to Jakarta,” Ali Fikri, spokesman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) told AFP, using only the governor’s initials.

The politician was arrested in a restaurant on Tuesday morning, the spokesman said during a televised interview.

The lawyers of Enembe, an ethnic Papuan who has served as governor of the resource-rich province since 2013, have denied the allegations.

Local media published images of authorities taking him on to a plane after his arrest in Jayapura, Papua’s capital.

The poverty-stricken region receives ample central government funding but experts say much is lost to corruption and wasteful spending.

In September, Indonesia’s Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) said it obtained evidence Enembe made transactions in casinos abroad worth 560 billion rupiah.

The KPK said it is still investigating.

Papua has been the scene of a decades-old rebel insurgency aimed at gaining independence from Indonesia, which took control of the former Dutch colony in the 1960s.

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