Wed, 02 Aug 2000

Agus' replacement well planned, Tyasno says

JAKARTA (JP): Army Chief of Staff Gen. Tyasno Sudarto asserted on Tuesday that the replacement of Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) chief Lt. Gen. Agus Wirahadikusumah was free from political motives.

Speaking after installing the new Kostrad chief Maj. Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu, Tyasno said the decision was taken purely for the sake of operational improvement inside the Army.

"The decision was taken according to standard procedures so this definitely did not come abruptly. It looks surprising because it was made several days before the People's Consultative Assembly Annual Session," said Tyasno.

The sudden replacement of outspoken Agus has drawn a variety of speculations. Some have suggested it was linked to the finding of irregularities worth Rp 190 billion that following an audit into a Kostrad foundation, which reportedly involves a number of Kostrad senior officers.

Agus suspended two colonels following the audit.

"The decision was not linked at all to the audit, the result of which had been reported by Agus Wirahadikusumah. The Army headquarters has formed a team to follow up the report," Tyasno said.

He asserted that when the team from the Army Inspectorate General has completed their investigation, he will be the one who will unveil the findings to the public.

In his speech, Tyasno stressed that every soldier should follow the chain of command and show loyalty to their superiors. He underlined that soldiers should act in accordance with the standards that have been set by the TNI.

Former Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. (ret) Wiranto, with whom Agus was involved in a polemic prior to the former's resignation, denied allegations that he had influenced the TNI to dismiss Agus.

"It is impossible and I would never have done such a thing. Although I am already retired, I am a professional soldier, who understands perfectly about the standard procedures of promotion and rotation," said Wiranto, who was among retired and senior Army officers attending the ceremony.

He added that the TNI council for high-ranking promotions and duty rotations always works independently and no outsider can influence the process inside the council. (dja)