Graft suspect’s office destroyed in AGO blaze

first_imgA fire that gutted the main building of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) compound in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, has raised questions over ongoing investigations into high-profile graft cases led by the law enforcement body.The fire broke out on Saturday evening on the sixth floor of the building before quickly engulfing the entire structure. It lasted for more than 10 hours, according to the South Jakarta Fire and Rescue Agency.  It took 325 personnel and 65 fire engines to extinguish the flames at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. He confirmed that the destroyed rooms included the office of Pinangki Sirna Malasari, a prosecutor who was recently named a suspect for allegedly accepting US$500,000 and meeting Djoko several times when the convict was at large abroad. The National Police arrested Djoko recently in Malaysia before transporting him back to Jakarta, 11 years after he fled Indonesia a day before the Supreme Court sentenced him to two years in prison for graft and ordered him to pay a fine of Rp 546 billion ($54 million).Read also: AGO looks into possible crimes in prosecutor’s alleged meetings with Djoko TjandraBurhanuddin said Pinangki worked for the AGO’s planning bureau before he was suspended recently during the investigation.“I would not say no to [forensics] lab findings, but the police investigation is still underway,” he said.The AGO’s supervisory unit previously said that Pinangki had committed an ethics violation by going on nine international trips to Singapore and Malaysia in 2019 without permission, allegedly to meet Djoko.The attorney general said no investigations would be interrupted and all activities from the destroyed building would be moved to the compound’s education and training building on Monday.The office also had to temporarily evacuate 25 detainees, who were originally held up at a separate building, to the South Jakarta District Attorney building to prevent them from being exposed to smoke from the fire.Aside from the Bank Bali case, the AGO is also investigating a corruption case on ailing state-owned insurer Jiwasraya, which, according to an audit by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), had  caused Rp 16.81 trillion in state losses, the largest amount of any case in the nation’s history. The office named 13 asset management companies and Financial Services Authority (OJK) official Fakhri Hilmi suspects, in addition to three former Jiwasraya executives.Read also: Thirteen companies, OJK official named suspects in Jiwasraya case”The AGO is now handling many big cases, one of them being the alleged bribery of prosecutor Pinangki. It’s not impossible that there were parties who planned to obstruct evidence stored in the building,” activist Kurnia Ramadhana from the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said.He said the fire should not be used as an excuse to halt the investigations, highlighting that the AGO had yet to disclose which parties allegedly bribed Pinangki.This is not the first time that the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) building – named a heritage building by the Jakarta administration – has caught fire. In 2003, the office’s control room, located next to the then-vacant office for the deputy attorney general, caught fire. The building also experienced two fires in 1979. (JP/Hengky Wijaya)This is not the first time that the 62-year-old building – named a heritage building by the Jakarta administration – has caught fire. In 2003, the office’s control room, located next to the then-vacant office for the deputy attorney general, caught fire. The building also experienced two fires in 1979.Manlian Ronald Simanjuntak, a civil engineer professor at Pelita Harapan University who studies fire safety, said that the fire was “fatal and cannot be tolerated”.He said the fact that the fire spread easily indicated there were flaws in the building’s design and safety, particularly in terms of fire compartmentation.”All this time the demand [for fire safety] has been high only with private buildings, while it’s been weak with government buildings, as shown by the many instances of fires in the latter,” he said, urging the government to review all buildings 40 years or older.Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD told a press briefing that the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) and the AGO’s junior attorney for general crimes were working together to investigate the fire and review the building’s construction feasibility.Mahfud gave an assurance that all case files, including those on Djoko Tjandra, Pinangki and Jiwasraya, were safe, and so he urged against speculating.”The safety of the data and case dossiers has been ensured by the AGO, and I, as the coordinating minister, will also oversee this carefully and follow the developments. The cases involving prosecutor Pinangki or other prosecutors and officials, they have to proceed transparently and the government must not lie, hiding things in situations like this,” he said.Topics : The blaze hit at a critical time for the AGO, which is currently working on some of the largest corruption cases in the country. One of the cases involves Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra, a former businessman who has been convicted in the Bank Bali corruption case.Attorney General ST Burhanuddin told The Jakarta Post on Sunday that the building was the location of the human resources, legal and planning departments. The fire, he said, affected the intelligence office, but the office had a backup of its data elsewhere.”All case dossiers are safe,” Burhanuddin said, adding that evidence and case files were stored in two separate buildings.Burhanuddin did not dismiss the possibility of arson in an attempt to destroy evidence but he insisted that he would rather wait for the results of the ongoing investigation before jumping to conclusions.last_img

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