Tue, 01 Aug 2000

Agus, Ryamizard deny political motives behind reshuffle

JAKARTA (JP): Outgoing Army Strategic Reserves (Kostrad) commander Lt. Gen. Agus Wirahadikusumah and his successor Maj. Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu have brushed aside political motives behind their reshuffle.

Speaking after the Indonesian Military (TNI) announced his removal, Agus said he was happy to relinquish the post he had held for just four months.

"In the name of God, I'm not disappointed at all. I sincerely accept the reshuffle," Agus said at Kostrad Headquarters in Central Jakarta.

The fourth military reshuffle in the last 10 months saw the current Jakarta Military Command chief Maj. Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu promoted to replace Agus, who has been reassigned to Army Headquarters without a specific job, the most unwanted position for high-flying officers with an eye on their careers.

"I was ready to become a nobody in the Army because for me, rank and position means nothing. Everybody should understand that Agus Wirahadikusumah has no ambitions," Agus said.

He said, however, he did not know the true reasons behind his removal because Army Chief of Staff Gen. Tyasno Sudarto, who summoned him earlier on Monday, had not explained the decision to him.

"I was only told that I had to prepare for a handing-over ceremony on Tuesday. He also informed me about the process (of the dismissal) in the TNI council for high-ranking promotions and duty rotations (Wanjakti)," Agus recalled.

Feeling certain that his reshuffle was not politically motivated, Agus assumed he was replaced due to a misunderstanding after he publicly disclosed financial irregularities in one of Kostrad's foundations.

Local media has reported that an audit of the Dharma Putra foundation owned by Kostrad found Rp 190 billion (US$21 million) unaccounted for during the three-months when Agus' predecessor Lt. Gen. Djadja Suparman was at the helm.

Agus suspended two colonels who were in charge of financial affairs while further investigations into their role in the irregularities were carried out.

"There has been a misunderstanding. Some people assumed that I had publicly disclosed the audit's result, but I never mentioned any names or any amounts of money and I always called the findings irregularities," Agus said.

He added that he suspected that some people had felt uneasy about him ever since he was appointed to the Kostrad top post four months ago.

Maj. Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu said during a visit Kostrad Headquarters on Monday that he also believed his promotion was not political.

"If I was appointed because of political reasons I would prefer to refuse. I am very proud to have got the promotion because of my professionalism," Ryamizard said.

He also said he would continue with Agus' efforts to enhance professionalism in Kostrad and to audit all the foundations belonging to the force.

"Every step that Pak Agus made is in accordance with my vision. And right now the audit on the foundations has been taken over by the Army Inspectorate General and I will not hamper efforts to disclose irregularities," Ryamizard added. (dja)