Papua governor accused of corruption and money laundering
by Mathias Hariyadi

According to the Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Governor Lukas Enembe embezzled billions of public funds. For the government it is “very serious court case”. The governor’s lawyer rejects the charges while his supporters protest.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The governor of the Indonesian province of Papua, 55-year-old Lukas Enembe, has been accused of corruption and money laundering, this according to Indonesia’s Minister for Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs.

It was a “very serious court case”, minister told journalists. “It includes hundreds of billion Indonesian rupiahs (IDR) in the operational fund of Papua’s provincial administration works. Other funds  are related to Indonesia’s National Sports Week (PON)[*] and also money laundering practices,” he said.

The Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK)[†] uncovered many “illicit” financial transactions related to Enembe's personal funds and reported those findings to Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)[‡]. As a result, the governor’s personal funds, 71 billion IDR (US$ 4.7 million), were frozen.

One of the transactions identified concerns US$ 55 million in cash going through a casino for the purpose of money laundering.

Since the investigation into Governor Enembe began on 5 September, he has been banned from leaving the country, despite medical treatment scheduled in Manila.

Enembe's lawyer countered that the charges are unfounded. Minister Mahfud replied by saying that the law is simply being applied to a senior official accused of corruption.

It is feared, however, that the affair could increase tensions in the already troubled province of Papua, where the governor’s supporters have already started demonstrating in his favour.

[*] Pekan Olahraga Nasional.

[†] Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan.

[‡] Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi.