Graft fugitive Neneng Sri Wahyuni is arrested following her stealth return to Jakarta. The involvement of an acquaintance of Malaysia's Selangor royalty in Neneng's protection and escapades is being investigated.
ONE woman walked calmly past the departure gate at Batam's Hang Nadim Airport last Wednesday morning. Outfitted in a long, dark-colored Islamic dress, a brown headscarf and donning a white mask across her face, she walked alongside another woman. A middle-aged man walked ahead of her. Their movements were captured and tracked by the CCTV recordings of Batam Airport.
At a glance, nobody would have suspected that this was one of the antigraft commission's (KPK) most-wanted fugitives. She is Neneng Sri Wahyuni, a suspect in a graft-riddled state solar power plant project, and wife of graft convict Muhammad Nazaruddin, a former treasurer of President Yudhoyono's ruling Democrat Party.
The KPK had received reports that Neneng was scheduled to fly into Indonesia since the afternoon of Monday last week. They were prepared. To 'greet' Neneng at the airport, six KPK officers had stood guard since Wednesday morning at Terminal 2F arrivals gate. "According to information we received, Neneng would fly into Jakarta with Garuda," said KPK deputy Bambang Widjojanto.
When the Garuda flight's arrival from Batam was announced at 11:25am, the investigators immediately made their move. They dispersed across certain points at the terminal, to observe the faces of passengers, one by one. The passengers had all left. The woman never turned up.
According to Tempo's sources, the investigators became very worried that Neneng might have once again escaped, particularly since it had been confirmed that she had left Batam for Jakarta. This tension slowly eased when they received news that her whereabouts had been tracked through her mobile phone. She had left the Jakarta airport complex. According to the source, Neneng managed to escape because the KPK had been misinformed about her flight. At first she was thought to fly into Jakarta with Garuda. Apparently Neneng flew in with Citilink. "So she walked out of the airport's Terminal 1C," said our source.
From the flight documents, Neneng was known to have booked a Citilink flight for four passengers with flight code LYNV5P a day before the flight. Neneng used the name Nadia. The other passengers flying with her were identified as Chamila and two Malaysian citizens, R. Azmi bin Mohammad Yusof and Mohamad Hasan bin Khusi. Chamila is Neneng's domestic helper. From the airport, Neneng and Chamila took a Blue Bird cab to South Jakarta. The two Malaysian 'chaperones' got into another taxi. Upon finding out that Neneng had already left the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the KPK team set into motion. They attempted to pursue Neneng's taxi, but to no avail the taxi was way ahead of them, on its way into the city.
Although Neneng escaped the chase, her whereabouts were still being tracked by the KPK investigators. From the Jakarta airport toll road, the taxi went to Kemang, South Jakarta. According to one investigator, Neneng stopped at a Padang restaurant in Kemang. "She had a meal there," the investigator said.
From Kemang, the taxi resumed its course to Neneng's residence on Jalan Pejaten Barat Raya No. 17 in South Jakarta. Her position was confirmed when the Blue Bird cab entered the gates of her lush residence. The two passengers stepped out of the cab and entered the house.
Tempo's source said, although the location of the fugitive was tracked a number of times, the investigators did not immediately arrest her. They were still uncertain if the person was indeed Neneng. Not only did she change names often, the appearance of the woman, born in Pekanbaru on February 15, 1982, had been altered. "She often wore a veil," the investigator said. "Her face has also been altered."
As the investigators readied themselves, one Kijang Capsule vehicle entered the compounds of Neneng's home. The car stopped right in front of the door and the driver started to unload a few suitcases and carried them into the house. When the driver stepped out of the gate, an investigator questioned him. "From this person, we were able to confirm that the woman in the house was really Neneng," said Tempo's source.
Exactly at 3:30pm, several investigators stormed in. The source said Neneng, who was in a room on the second floor, managed to lock the door. But when she realized that she was surrounded, she surrendered. "When we opened the door, Neneng asked for permission to perform the afternoon prayers first, before she was taken to the KPK headquarters." Two hours later, two Malaysians who accompanied Neneng were caught at the Aston Hotel, Senen, Central Jakarta.
Muhammad Nazaruddin, himself a fugitive at one time before being arrested in Colombia, denied that his wife had been arrested. According to him, Neneng went home to turn herself in to the KPK. "My wife wanted to perform her salat (prayers) at home before going to the KPK headquarters," he said. However, KPK deputy Busyro Muqoddas insisted that Neneng had not surrendered. "She was arrested."
Neneng left Indonesia with her husband on May 23, 2011 a day before the country's immigration authorities issued an overseas ban against Nazaruddin. Both managed to travel across a number of countries. The couple flew to Singapore and stayed at the Royal Plaza on Scotts Hotel, on crowded Orchard Road. After a few days there, Neneng and Nazaruddin moved to the Marina Bay Hotel. Not long after, they moved to a three-bedroom apartment in the Sin Ming Lane district.
The couple did not stay long there either. A team from the Indonesian Police Detectives and the KPK arrived to arrest them. They flew to Vietnam on a chartered jet and stayed there a few days. Then they spent a few hours in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, before flying off to Dubai.
From Dubai, still on a chartered jet, Nazaruddin and his wife flew to the Dominican Republic. There they stayed in a large villa on the beachfront. The two then headed for Cartagena, a famous tourist spot in Colombia. Local police recognized and caught Nazaruddin, who by then was listed as an Interpol wanted fugitive, just as his jet was preparing to leave the country.
When the KPK team arrived in Bogota to fetch Nazaruddin, Neneng had gone missing. A person closely following the chronological chain of events mentioned that the whereabouts of the fugitive were once again tracked at the end of 2011, when she had reached Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Neneng bought an apartment in the city center of Kuala Lumpur. She was also reported to have legally requested a permanent residency status in January of 2012. Her request was denied by the Malaysian government.
Despite being far away from her husband in a foreign nation, Neneng could still not be easily traced by either the police or the KPK. Tempo's source said that during her stay in Malaysia, Neneng was always chaperoned by R. Azmi bin Mohammad Yusof and Mohamad Hasan bin Khusi. With their help, Neneng was able to move from one province to another. "Including a few visits to Batam."
Bambang Widjajanto said one of the Malaysians was an adviser to a Malaysian kingdom. The Malaysian Ambassador, Dato Syed Munshe Afdzaruddin bin Syed Hassan, denied this: "They're both nobodies."
One investigator however confirmed that Azmi was not some 'nobody.' He is a close relative of a Selangor Sultanate high official. The man, born in Perak, December 13, 1951, is the managing director of Meram Holding Sdn Bhd, a renowned construction company in Malaysia. "Azmi became Neneng's business partner in property investment," he said.
In his efforts to bring Neneng back home to Indonesia, Azmi used a boat carrying the Selangor Sultanate flag, from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru. From Johor, they used a small boat to Batam. "They entered through a fishing port," said the investigator.
According to the investigator, Azmi and Mohamad Hasan were also closely acquainted with Nazaruddin. On a Saturday, two weeks ago, they visited the Cipinang Prison to see Nazaruddin. "In the meeting, Azmi was given the task of bringing Neneng home to Jakarta," he said.
Azmi and Mohamad Hasan, who are now officially suspects, refused to comment on these allegations. Nazaruddin denied knowing the two Malaysians. According to Nazaruddin, Neneng had owned a home and business in Malaysia since 2001. "She doesn't need anyone's help there," he said.
On Neneng being accompanied by Azmi and Mohamad Hasan in her return home to Jakarta, Nazaruddin said it was a coincidence. "They met at the Malaysia port by chance, and then proceeded to Jakarta together."
By Setri Yasra, Rusman Paraqbueq, Budi Setyarso
No. 43/12, June 20, 2012