Papua Governor Lukas Enembe accused of spending IDR560 billion at overseas casinos. His supporters stand in the way of his arrest

Papua Governor Lukas Enembe. Photo: papua.go.id
Papua Governor Lukas Enembe. Photo: papua.go.id

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) believes Papua Governor Lukas Enembe employed pawns to stand in the way of his arrest after he was accused of spending hundreds of billions of rupiah at foreign casinos.

On Monday, the Center for Financial Transaction Reporting and Analysis (PPATK) announced its suspicion that Lukas had made transactions at two casinos in unspecified countries amounting to SGD55 million (IDR560 billion or US$39 million). 

The announcement came after KPK last week named Lukas a graft suspect on suspicion of receiving IDR1 billion (US$66,624) in bribe money. The governor failed to meet KPK’s summons for questioning in the Papuan capital of Jayapura, with the politician citing ill health.

Yesterday, Jayapura came to a standstill after hundreds of Papuans descended upon the city, rallying to demand the termination of the graft investigation, which they believe to be political slander against their governor. Many of them had even been standing guard at Lukas’ residence to prevent his arrest.

KPK believes their true motivations aren’t so pure.

“Protests are protected by law. Only in this case, we see that the protests were steered by the suspect (Lukas Enembe),” KPK Law Enforcement Deputy Karyoto said in Jakarta yesterday.

Regardless, Karyoto said the agency will tread carefully in the ongoing investigation to avoid any unwanted casualties.

Lukas, who has been in office since 2013 and is coming to the end of his second five-year term next year, has not issued any statements regarding the corruption charges against him. 

The governor has been questioned by the KPK on numerous occasions between 2016 and 2017 for separate corruption allegations, including the misappropriation of scholarship funds for Papuans. Back then, his supporters also protested against the allegations, saying that the issue was politicized ahead of the 2018 gubernatorial election.

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