Jakarta – Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Chairperson Asfinawati has warned that conflicts of interest involving public officials are subject to criminal prosecution.
Asfinawati conveyed this as part of a response to a subpoena filed by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan against Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti.
"This is declared as an act which is subject to criminal prosecution under the law on an administration which is free from corruption, collusion and nepotism", said Asfinawati during a virtual press conference on Tuesday August 31.
Asfinawati said that the company PT Tobacom Del Mandiri, a subsidiary of the Toba Sejahtera Group is active in the mining business in Papua. Pandjaitan is a shareholder in the company.
Asfinawati's referred to the results of a study by a coalition on non-government organisations (NGOs) titled The Economy and Politics of Military Placement in Intan Jaya. The study alleges that there is a conflict of interests between the deployment of the military and mining businesses in Papua.
One of the ways this can be seen is from the placement of military headquarters close to mining concession land. In addition to this, several senior military officers occupy strategic posts in mining companies.
Furthermore, Asfinawati, who is also acting as Maulidiyanti's lawyer, warned that public officials must distance themselves from conflicts of interest. This is because aside from conflicting with the law, conflicts of interest are also an indication of corruption.
"It (a conflict of interest) is an indication of corruption crimes either or as part of the modus of corrupt behaviour", she said.
Asfinawati also said that Indonesia has a presidential regulation which regulates the receipt of benefits from corporations. The regulation is not only directed at people who hold official positions in a particular company, but also targets people who receive benefits.
"It's not just which official sits in the ranks of directors and commissioners, but who receives benefits even though they are not actually listed in the documents", she explained.
Meanwhile the criticisms raised by Maulidiyanti are her constitutional right and are an effort by society to safeguard its sovereignty.
"So in this the positions are reversed, it should be that the ones keeping watch on the government are the people, not public officials keeping watch and subpoenaing [the people]", said Asfinawati.
Earlier, Pandjaitan through his lawyer Juniver Girsang filed a subpoena against Fatia Maulidiyanti and lawyer Haris Azhar.
The subpoena was filed based on a video of a discussion with Maulidiyanti that Azhar uploaded on his YouTube channel in which she said that PT Tobacom Del Mandiri, a subsidiary of the Toba Sejahtera Group, is active in the mining business in Papua.
"Shares in the Toba Sejahtera Group are also owned by one of our officials, his name is Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (LBP), The Lord, Lord Luhut. So Luhut can be said to be involved in mining which is taking place in Papua today", said Maulidiyanti in the video which was uploaded on the HARIS AZHAR YouTube channel on Friday August 20.
Several days later, Pandjaitan filed a subpoena against Maulidiyanti and Azhar giving them 5x24 hours to issue an apology.
Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment spokesperson Jodi Mahardi said that the subpoena was filed because Azhar's posting had tarnished Pandjaitan's good name and that the minister is not active in the mining business in the Wabu Block.
According to Mahardi, the statements made in the video are untrue, tenuous, a character assassination and an insult.
"Tarnishing his good name and fake news that Pak [Mr] Luhut is active in the mining business in the Wabu Block", said Mahardi in an SMS message sent to CNN Indonesia on Saturday August 28. (iam/agn)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Respons Somasi Luhut, YLBHI Ingatkan soal Konflik Kepentingan".]