Sat, 02 Dec 2000

Farikha to report Rusdihardjo over defamation

JAKARTA (JP): Siti Farikha, a Semarang-based businesswoman who is closely related with the multibillion rupiah State Logistics Agency (Bulog) scandal, is planning to report former police chief Gen. Rusdihardjo to the National Police Headquarters for alleged defamation.

Farikha's lawyer Indra Sahnun Lubis told reporters on Friday that Rusdihardjo had wrongfully accused his client of having received Rp 5 billion from President Abdurrahman Wahid which was allegedly taken from Bulog.

"Bu Farikha has a document which can prove that she got the money from (businessman) Aris Junaidi. Rusdihardjo should be able to prove his statement which said that Bu Farikha had received the money from Gus Dur," Indra said while referring to the President by his nickname.

A special committee which was set up by the House of Representatives to investigate the scandal held a hearing to listen to Rusdihardjo's statement on the case on Tuesday.

Media reports said that during the hearing, Rusdihardjo testified that Farikha had received a Rp 5 billion check from Gus Dur and said that he had been asked by Gus Dur to create a scenario as if Farikha had received the fund from Aris.

Siti returned the money to the police soon after the scandal made headlines in April.

Aris himself admitted earlier to having received the money from the President's masseur Alip Agung Suwondo, a prime suspect in the case, but said he had no idea if the money was part of the Rp 35 billion fund taken from Bulog's employees foundation, Yanatera.

Lawyer Indra said Rusdihardjo might have made the statement before the committee because he had hard feelings toward Gus Dur as the President had replaced him in September after being in his position for only nine months.

"Rusdihardjo has also been contaminated by politics," Indra said.

Indra said that the committee had been doing the investigation only to prove that Gus Dur had been involved in the case instead of finding the truth.

The lawyer also said that the establishment of the committee had been illegal.

"Article 2 and 3 of the Law No. 6/1954 stipulate that such a committee should be listed in the state documents. I checked it and the committee was not listed," Indra said.

Separately, National Police chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro said he would not respond to media reports on Rusdihardjo's statement before the committee, calling the reports unofficial.

"The hearing was supposed to be a closed one. We'll respond to his (Rusdihardjo's statement) only if the special committee gives us an official recommendation," Bimantoro told reporters at the National Police Headquarters.

When contacted by The Jakarta Post by phone on Thursday, Rusdihardjo did not confirm or deny the media reports saying that none of his statements before the committee should be made public. (jaw)