Tue, 24 Jun 2003

Police asked to provide evidence in Pardede case

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan, North Sumatra

North Sumatra Provincial Police are in hot water following their recent statement that deputy governor Rudolf Pardede had not fabricated his high school diplomas prior to submitting his candidacy for the province's second position.

Officials from the local offices of the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) demanded on Monday that the police show the original copies of Pardede's junior high and senior high school diplomas to the public.

Chairman of PAN's North Sumatra chapter Ibrahim Sakti Batubara said the police had to prove their earlier statements that Pardede was innocent.

The police have claimed that they carried out an investigation at a junior high school in Tanjungpinang, Riau, and a senior high school in Sukabumi, West Java, following the public debate.

Ibrahim said the police declaration of Rudolf's innocence in the absence of the original copies of the diplomas could create public unease, particularly among those involved in the education sector.

"If Rudolf Pardede had actually graduated from high school, the police must be able to state the certificate serial numbers, the graduation dates and the names of those who signed the certificates," he told The Jakarta Post.

PKS North Sumatra provincial councillor Sigit Pramono Asri concurred, saying that the police had to reveal the truth, as people already thought that Pardede had submitted fake documents for the deputy governorship.

Sigit said the police should also follow up on a May 28, 2003 letter from principal of BPK Penabur Christian High School in Sukabumi Martha Christiawati, which was sent to the North Sumatra Provincial Legislative Council and the Ministry of Home Affairs in Jakarta, saying that she had been under pressure prior to signing a written testimony that Pardede was once a student at the school.

"That is why the police must reveal the truth, so as not to confuse the public," the councillor said.

"Should the police be unable to reveal the truth, it will only confirm that they have been unprofessional and half-hearted in their investigation ... Or, they are hiding something," Ibrahim said.

North Sumatra Police chief of detectives Sr. Comr Hari Prasetyo said on Monday that the police had collected evidence that Pardede had graduated from both high schools.

"Pardede's diplomas are real; we've got the data to prove it," Satria said, without elaborating.

Pardede was sworn in as the province' deputy governor by Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno on June 16, despite the allegations.

Rudolf, chairman of the North Sumatra chapter of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), and T. Rizal Nurdin, the reelected governor, nominated by the PDI Perjuangan faction, won the election on May 26. They defeated Chairuman Harahap, chief of the North Sumatra Prosecutor's Office and Serta Ginting, deputy speaker of the North Sumatra Provincial Legislative Council, nominated by the Golkar Party faction, by 51 votes to 33.