JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered an official investigation into allegations top police and military officers were involved in trafficking illegal drugs.
Claims that senior police and military brass took kickbacks from a drug kingpin have stoked huge controversy in Indonesia, where the government is waging a war on narcotics and last month executed four convicted traffickers.
Freddy Budiman — who was among the four shot by firing squad — allegedly told a prominent human rights activist in 2014 that he paid police, military and specialist narcotics agents to protect his lucrative business.
The allegations have infuriated Indonesia’s powerful police and military institutions. Haris Azhar, the activist at the Commission for Missing Persons who claims he spoke with Budiman, has been threatened with defamation charges since posting the alleged testimony online.
Widodo criticized Azhar for revealing the allegations years after they were made, but has since instructed the national police chief to investigate.
“Trace, expose and process it (the allegations), if it’s really true as has been said,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
Azhar urged the government to shift its focus away from him towards those senior officials accused of conspiring to peddle drugs.
“The president must take responsibility. We want an independent team (to investigate the case),” Azhar told Agence France-Presse.
Widodo declared a war on drugs when he took office in October 2014 and vowed no clemency for those sentenced to death for trafficking.
Eighteen convicted drug smugglers — including 15 foreigners — have been executed in Indonesia under his administration.