What message is Papua New Guinea giving by harbouring Djoko Tjandra?
Wanted Indonesian fugitive Djoko Tjandra. Picture
courtesy of the Tempo Magazine
By Gary Juffa, MP
I believe that we are mandated as leaders to represent the people of our nation, the 7 million shareholders of Papua New Guinea (PNG).
I have found that this is not the case for some. It appears that rhetoric and clever application of distraction and evasion abound and there are those who now having entered Parliament, appear to be concerned about interests that are not shared by the people.
Djoko Tjandra, an international criminal fugitive wanted by the Supreme Court of Indonesia for embezzling $US62 Million and illegally in PNG, was protected in parliament by several elected members who profusely fought to claim he was a Papua New Guinean, and who shied away from their responsibilities by claiming it was not their area of concern.
Discussions with many elected leaders show that they too are concerned. Thanks to their efforts to expose, it is now being learned that the Citizenship Committee (of PNG) never actually endorsed Tjandra’s citizenship, it was a one-man affair presided over by the former Goilala MP Mathew Poiya, He was then Vice Minister Foreign Affairs acting as the chairman for that one unique meeting, without the other members present, and at the behest of certain politicians from the Southern Region.
So the questions I posed remain unanswered: is Djoko Tjandra in PNG legally? Is he a PNG citizen and if so what has happened to his Indonesia citizenship, did he denounce it as required? Were the processes and procedures followed in granting him citizenship? What of the fact that he is wanted by Indonesian authorities and is on the Interpol Website, which specifically requests anyone who has sighted him to report him immediately to the police and Interpol? What is the message we are now sending to the international community by this act? That we are now open haven for international criminals? That we will now ignore our international responsibilities to assist in the fight against crime and assist other UN member nations report and prosecute those responsible for crimes in one jurisdiction but flee to another for refuge? That a bag of money and proposed investments can be a ticket to citizenship in PNG? Many such questions arise and no doubt those who are concerned will come up with many more valid questions.
I wonder if a Papua New Guinean would be treated the same in Indonesia or any other nation if he had stolen $US62 million in PNG and was wanted by the Supreme Court of PNG, given refuge and citizenship and dines with elected leaders of that nation? How sad it is that the citizenship of our nation is cheapened and sold with no decorum or dignity, no proper process or procedure, no legal etiquette and certainly no vital effort of ethics, proper behaviour and genuine consideration for its people, cultures or future.
The questions will not be swept under the carpet, we cannot allow the giant lump of excrement that is this situation to remain in our midst whilst we pretend that all is well and go our merry way with business after we have bowed our heads and pledged Christian principals and embraced honesty and requested divine guidance during every session of parliament. It is ironic that we are now building a refugee processing centre in Manus to process legitimate refugees while we open our country and embrace criminal fugitives with open arms.