Wed, 18 Oct 2000

Army may dismiss Agus, Saurip if found guilty

JAKARTA (JP): Army Headquarters may dismiss Lt. Gen. Agus Wirahadikusumah and Maj. Gen. Saurip Kadi if they are proven guilty of having violated the military's oath and code of conduct, newly appointed Army chief Gen. Endriartono Sutarto said on Tuesday.

Endriartono, however, said that Army Headquarters had yet to establish the Officers Honorary Council (DKP) to review the allegations.

"We need to be careful handling the case as it involves someone's reputation.

"If there is insufficient data and evidence to prove the allegations, it will be unnecessary to set up the DKP," he said in a media conference at Army Headquarters.

Endriartono said an Army investigation team was collecting data, which will be crosschecked with statements of clarification from both Agus and Saurip. and

"Only when we have evidence, will we decide to disiplin Agus and Saurip," he said.

Outgoing Army chief Gen. Tyasno Sudarto, who will officially be replaced by Endriartono on Wednesday, said the move taken by Army Headquarters on Agus and Saurip was part of the efforts to establish discipline among Army officers.

"This is an internal and common Army matter. It became unusual when it was politicized by certain groups outside the Army," Tyasno said. He declined to name the groups.

The case rose to the surface early this month when Tyasno chaired the graduation ceremony (Prasetya Perwira) at the Army's Cadet School (Secapa) in Bandung.

Apart from the Oct. 2 ceremony, some 46 Army generals reportedly signed a petition threatening to resign en masse if Agus was appointed to replace Tyasno as Army chief.

The petition also recommended that Army Headquarters press disciplinary charges against Agus and Saurip over the alleged undisciplined actions of both officers.

Most top Army generals were present, except Jakarta Military commander Maj. Gen. Slamet Kirbiyantoro, the Trikora Regional Military commander Maj. Gen. Albert Inkiriwang, and the Pattimura Military commander Brig. Gen. I Made Yasa. Also present were Army's Special Force (Kopassus) commander Maj. Gen. Amirul Isnaeni and chief of the Army's Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) Lt. Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu.

Agus, a former Kostrad chief, and Saurip, former Assistant to Army Chief for territorial affairs, now face allegations of undisciplined acts after being summoned by Army leaders earlier this month.

Agus was questioned for being absent without leave (AWOL), and Saurip for publishing a book about military activities without the Army's permission.

They were questioned by Endriartono, who, at the time, was the deputy Army chief. Endriartono was assisted by Assistant to Army Chief for Security Affairs Maj. Gen. I Dewa Putu Rai, and Assistant for Personnel Affairs Maj. Gen. Suprapto.

Besides facing the allegation of being AWOL, Agus is also being charged for disclosing the alleged Rp 189 billion (US$21.2 million) corruption scandal in a Kostrad foundation before the investigation was completed.

It was in the middle of an investigation into allegations of corruption in the command by his predecessors that Agus lost his post.

Agus was also questioned by the Army leadership about his decision to send a company of Kostrad troops to Bengkulu without prior coordination with the Indonesian Military (TNI) Headquarters when the province was struck by an earthquake in June.

Both Agus and Saurip have called the allegations slanderous. (02)