Fri, 17 Nov 2000

Beddu Amang's case to be reopened

JAKARTA (JP): The Jakarta Prosecutor's Office announced on Thursday the dossier on former State Logistics Agency (Bulog) chief Beddu Amang was complete, and the office was ready to reopen the corruption case against him.

Beddu was indicted last year for his alleged involvement in the 1995 land exchange scam between Bulog and wholesale firm PT Goro Batara Sakti. This is the same case that resulted in former president Soeharto's youngest son Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra being sentenced to 18 months in prison.

However, Beddu's indictment was dropped because at the time he was a member of the People's Consultative Assembly and the prosecutors failed to obtain the required presidential approval before questioning him as a suspect.

The Jakarta Prosecutor's Office assistant for special crimes, Andi Syarifuddin, said his office had received the dossier from investigators at the Attorney General's Office on Wednesday and had deemed it complete.

"We have sent a request to the investigators to submit the evidence and to turn over the suspect to the office as soon as possible," he told The Jakarta Post by phone on Thursday.

"Based on common practice, the prosecutors may impose an arrest status on the suspect. We'll see if this is necessary for Beddu," he said.

Beddu's lawyer Mohamad Assegaf said his client had not violated any laws and should not be held responsible for the land deal.

"The Bulog statute stipulates that the chief reports directly to the president. In the case, Pak Beddu reported all of the details of the land swap with Tommy's PT Goro to then president Soeharto.

"The Goro supermarket, which was built on a plot of land (obtained in the deal) in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, was officially opened by Soeharto. So, by law, my client was not responsible .... Moreover, there were witnesses who testified that the state did not suffer any losses in the deal."

Assegaf said he was surprised that prosecutors took so little time to study Beddu's dossier before declaring it complete.

"I just read in the newspaper this morning that the prosecutors still needed to examine the results of the investigation of Beddu ... but in the afternoon, they said that it was already done," he said. (bby)