An in-law of former premier Najib Razak has been named as a graft suspect in connection with ongoing investigations by Indonesian police following the arrest of one of its most wanted fugitives, Djoko Tjandra, in Kuala Lumpur last month.
Indonesian central police spokesperson Argo Yuwono reportedly identified the suspect as “TS”, the initials for tycoon Tommy Sumardi.
Tommy was accused of bribing two senior police generals to facilitate the removal of Djoko’s Interpol red notice and assist his travels. The police generals were later removed from their positions for allegedly accepting the bribe.
The suspect’s identity and family connection with Najib was subsequently exposed by watchdog Masyarakat Anti-Korupsi Indonesia (Maki) coordinator Boyamin Saiman, according to online portal Detik.com.
When contacted, Boyamin claimed that Tommy is a known close confidante of Djoko and Setya Novanto, a former Indonesian parliament speaker who is currently serving a 15-year jail sentence after being convicted in a government procurement corruption scandal.
“He (Tommy) followed Djoko’s business connections,” Boyamin told Malaysiakini.
He cited as an example the construction of 1MDB’s Signature The Exchange 106 tower in Tun Razak Exchange by Indonesia’s Mulia Group under control of Djoko’s brother Eka Tjandranegara as its president-director and owner.
Najib was then prime minister and finance minister when Djoko made headlines here in 2015 over links to the planned construction of what would be Malaysia’s tallest skyscraper.
Boyamin claimed what started as business relations involving Djoko, Tommy and Najib gradually grew more personal. This led to encounters between Tommy’s daughter Fitri Aprinasari Utami and Najib’s son, Mohd Nazifuddin, that eventually led to a wedding held in Kuala Lumpur last July.
“The couple was engaged in May last year, but Najib was unable to attend the ceremony in Jakarta because of his travel ban,” he said.
Malaysiakini has contacted Najib for comments.
Responding to queries raised on Djoko’s Interpol red notice alert, Mulia Group in 2015 said Djoko no longer held any position or shares within the group, although Boyamin insisted today that the announcement was a mere “camouflage” to evade queries from authorities.
“Only a camouflage. Djoko Tjandra is the beneficial owner,” he claimed.
“Tommy has yet to be arrested. He will only be called in next week.
“In Indonesia, investigations will be carried out first before a (named) suspect is arrested, unlike in Malaysia,” Boyamin added when quizzed on Tommy’s current status.
He said that Indonesia’s central police is expected to summon Tommy sometime next week.
Djoko’s alleged connections in Malaysia was previously raised by Indonesia’s former attorney-general, HM Prasetyo, who claimed that the then Malaysian attorney-general, Apandi Ali, had in 2016 made a personal request for him to consider dropping the 68-year-old tycoon’s conviction and allowing him to return as a free man.
Malaysian police have so far remained tight-lipped on details surrounding Djoko’s arrest on July 30, although their Indonesian counterparts had reportedly given their thanks for its cooperation.
He was handed over to a team of Indonesian police and flown back to Jakarta in a chartered private jet from the Subang airport.
Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD previously revealed that the covert operation was carried out as a “police to police” cooperation between Polri and PDRM under direct instruction from President Joko Widodo.
Djoko fled Indonesia to Papua New Guinea in 2009, a day before the Supreme Court sentenced him to two years in prison and a fine of 15 million rupiah following his conviction in the Bank Bali corruption case
He is currently serving the two-year prison sentence and expected to stand trial for additional bribery charges in connection with an ongoing illicit funds probe. – Malaysiakini