Wed, 22 Nov 2000

Gus Dur orders tapping of Tommy's phone

JAKARTA (JP): President Abdurrahman Wahid has ordered authorities to tap the cellular phone of former president Soeharto's fugitive son Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, a Cabinet member said Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab quoted Abdurrahman as saying that the President has "asked the Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications Agum Gumelar to help police with things that are difficult for the police to trace."

He cited attempts to trace the fugitive through his phone calls.

It remains unclear to the public why such an effort had to be disclosed to the media.

Tommy's younger sister Siti Hutami Endang Adiningsih told police during questioning on Monday that Tommy had used his cellular phone to contact her several times since he was declared a fugitive.

But she claimed her 38-year-old brother never told her his whereabouts during their conversations.

Tommy has been on the run since authorities declared him a fugitive on Nov. 3 after he failed to turn himself in to serve an 18-month jail term for corruption.

Separately on Tuesday, the police stepped up their efforts to search for the fugitive by combing the houses of businessman Probosutedjo, a stepbrother of Soeharto, and businesswoman Maya Rumantir, a former singer who has been widely rumored to have close relations with Tommy.

As could easily have been predicted, the police left the two places empty-handed, similar to the result of their search for Tommy at the homes of the fugitive and his father in Menteng, Central Jakarta a few days ago.

On Tuesday, the officers first searched Probosutedjo's house on Jl. Diponegoro 20 in Menteng.

Led by Sr. Insp. Tagam Sinaga, the team which arrived at 2 p.m. immediately searched the luxury home. The owner, Probosutedjo, arrived at his home 40 minutes after the police search started.

After the search, Probosutedjo said: "The police have inspected all rooms in the house but found nothing. In fact, he (Tommy) was not here."

According to Probo, the last time he met Tommy was about two weeks ago during Friday prayers somewhere in Jakarta.

"I warned Tommy that he should surrender. It should be O.K. to spend some time in jail and, after that, the case is settled," he said.

From Probosutedjo's house, the police moved to Maya's home on Jl. Abdul Majid in South Jakarta. Rumors have it that the house is a gift from Tommy.

In Yogyakarta, chief of Yogyakarta Police Brig. Gen. Logan Siagian said his men had searched for Tommy at the house of Noto Suwito, another stepbrother of Soeharto, in Kemusuk village, Bantul regency, about 7 kilometers from Yogyakarta.

"He wasn't there, and there was no indication that he had been in the house," he told reporters at his office on Tuesday.

Separately in the day, South Jakarta Prosecutor's Office head Antasari Azhar vowed that his office would continue the search and seize all assets of the fugitive throughout the country as collateral to the latter's obligation as ruled by the Supreme Court.

"The seized assets will be used to recover the Rp 30.6 billion in state losses, in the land exchange deal case," he said.

The prosecutors have so far seized four of Tommy's assets, including Tommy's home in Menteng, a villa and a plot of land in Bogor, West Java and two plots of land in Serang, Banten province.

Antasari denied that he impeded seizure of the assets, saying that he would voluntarily testify to the police regarding his office's action in carrying out the execution of Tommy's sentence.

Attorney General Marzuki Darusman pressed the national police recently to investigate Antasari, since the latter was suspected of impeding both execution of Tommy's sentence and the seizure of his assets. (byg/44/asa/bby)