Medical workers take a blood sample from graft suspect Maria Pauline Lumowa for a rapid coronavirus testing upon her arrival at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport on July 9, 2020. (B1 Photo/Emral Firdiansyah)

Police, Overshadowed by Past Scandals, to Re-Investigate Maria Lumowa


JULY 09, 2020

Jakarta. The National Police are set to reopen the 17-year corruption case against Maria Pauline Lumowa, who arrived in Indonesia on Thursday morning after being extradited by the Serbian government.

“Once she is handed over [to the National Police], we will continue the investigation,” Comr. Gen. Listyo Sigit, the head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, or Bareskrim, told the Jakarta Globe.


Maria has fled justice for 17 years since she became suspect in a major embezzlement case that cost state-owned bank BNI more than $200 million in bad loans.

Her return, however, served as a reminder of another bribery scandal involving around 20 police officers, including the police’s top investigator, who handled the embezzlement case back in 2003.

The 62-year-old woman, who also holds Dutch citizenship, has moved residences in foreign countries until she was arrested by the Interpol in Serbia in July last year, based on a red notice issued by Indonesian authorities.

In 2003, she was named suspect along with Adrian Waworuntu, who is now serving life sentence for the corruption case.

Both had earlier founded mining and plantation firm Gramarindo Group that received $136 million and 56 million euros in export credits from BNI. 

As the company failed to repay installment, the bank launched investigation and found that Gramarindo had no export activities, prompting it to lodge a criminal complaint to police. By that time, Maria had moved residence to Singapore.

The scandal broke during police investigation into another key suspect, Adrian. Then Bareskrim head Suyitno Landung was alleged to have accepted a Nissan SUV from the suspect. He was convicted of bribery and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Director of special crime unit Brig. Gen. Samuel Ismoko was another high ranking officer to be implicated with the bribery scandal. He was found guilty of accepting Rp 250 million in bribe from the suspect and sentenced to 20 months in prison. His subordinate, Comr. Gen. Irman Santoso, got two years’ imprisonment for facilitating the bribery.

In addition, 17 middle and low-ranking officers were slapped with internal disciplinary measures for their role in the scandal.

But Listyo, the current Bareskrim head, wasn’t interested in retelling the past story about police handling of the major bank fraud case.

He vowed to complete the case immediately so that Maria can face justice after 17 years on the run.

He claimed there is no obstacle for the police to reopen the case, not even the fact that Maria has a foreign citizenship.

“We don’t have any problem whatsoever concerning her citizenship, because she has committed to a crime in Indonesia,” Listyo said.

Serbia agreed to extradite the suspect following a visit by Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly. The decision was a reciprocal action by Serbia after Indonesia extradited a Serbian criminal fugitive in 2015, Yasonna said on Wednesday.