Fri, 22 Aug 2003

AGO cancels probe into high-profile graft cases

A'an Suryana, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Attorney General's Office (AGO) has decided to halt its investigation into alleged corruption by former strongman Soeharto's cronies Prajogo Pangestu and Djoko Ramiadji, and his daughter Siti "Tutut" Hardiyanti Rukmana.

Meanwhile, the AGO has also decided to charge former state minister for state-owned enterprises Tanri Abeng for alleged corruption involving seaport operator PT Pelindo II.

Untung Udji Santoso, director of investigation at the special crimes division of the AGO, said on Thursday that the decision to drop corruption cases against Soeharto's cronies and daughter was taken recently.

Untung said the investigation into the role of business tycoon Prajogo in an alleged mark-up at the Industrial Forest Estate (HTI) in South Sumatra was halted in June after his office had established that the state suffered no losses.

Prajogo, as the director of HTI developer PT Menara Hutan Buana, was declared a corruption suspect after he had allegedly marked up the size of lands managed by his company to 193,500 hectares from the original 118,000 hectares in order to procure more reforestation funds.

Untung said the accusation was proven to be unfounded, as the latest aerial survey by the National Survey and Charting Coordination Agency (Bakosurtanal) showed that there was no mark up in the reforestation work carried out Prajogo's company.

He said his office had also stopped investigating the corruption case involving Djoko Ramiadji, the director of toll road company PT Marga Nurindo Bhakti.

Djoko, who was once named a suspect in the case, was exonerated from further legal prosecution after AGO investigators found that he did not sign a falsified commercial paper on the development of the Cawang-Tanjung Priok and Pondok Pinang- Jagorawi toll roads (JORR) in Jakarta, which started in the early 1990s.

As for Tutut's case, which evolved around a failed construction of fuel pipelines, Untung said investigators found no irregularities in the case.

Tutut, as the commissioner of construction company PT Triharsa Bimanusa Tunggal, was accused of corruption after the company stopped halfway the construction of fuel pipelines in Central Java in 1992, and yet demanded a compensation of US$31.49 million from state-owned oil company Pertamina, which it received.

As for Tanri Abeng's case, which occurred in the late 1990s, Untung said investigators were still following up on the case, and that the dossier of the case was being drafted.

Tanri has been accused of abusing his position in appointing global coordinators for the privatization of PT Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT), a subsidiary of PT Pelindo II.

Separately, an anticorruption activist with the Indonesian Corruption watch (ICW), Iskandar Sonhadji, lashed out at the AGO's habit to produce decisions that were against the people's aspirations.

=============================================================== No. Names Cases Alleged State Losses =============================================================== 1. Prajogo Pangestu HTI South Sumatra Rp 159 billion 2. Djoko Ramiadji JORR toll road Rp 811 billion 3. Siti Hardiyanti Java pipelines US$31.49 million 4. Tanri Abeng PT PELINDO II Rp 12.9 b (US$1.6m) =============================================================== Source: AGO