Tue, 18 Apr 2000

Hasan detention period extended

JAKARTA (JP): Mohamad "Bob" Hasan's hopes to enjoy some fresh air came a cropper on Monday as the Attorney General's Office extended his detention for another 20 days.

Spokesman Yushar Yahya confirmed that the timber tycoon and business associate of former president Soeharto would remain under custody of the Attorney General's Office pending completion of investigation into his alleged embezzlement of reforestation funds.

"We have plans to call more witnesses in the following weeks," Yushar said.

Bob, who briefly served as minister of industry and trade, was detained on March 28 after being named a suspect in a US$87 million fraud of the government contract to perform aerial mapping and airborne radar imaging of the country's forestry resources.

The contract was awarded to Bob, the Indonesian Forest Concessionaires Association (APHI) chairman, in 1994 and the project was carried out by PT Mapindo Parama, using the government's reforestation fund.

State prosecutor Suwandi said on Monday that investigation revealed that Bob is the sole shareholder of the company.

A Ministry of Forestry and Plantation report last month stated that the techniques applied in the mapping were obsolete and uneconomical and the results failed to meet specifications agreed in the contract.

Bob's lawyer, Augustinus Hutajulu, said on Monday his client had been informed of the extended detention period on Saturday and that Bob was willing to comply with legal procedures to speed up the investigation.

He claimed that Bob only owned 49 percent of PT Mapindo's shares, 30 percent being held on behalf of Dakab Foundations, one of Soeharto's charity foundations. The remaining 51 percent belongs to PT Baruna, whose owners were kept secret by Augustinus.

Former deputy Army chief of staff Lt. Gen.(ret.) F.X. Sudjasmin testified earlier in the day at the Attorney General's Office that the Association of Indonesian Wood Panel Producers (Apkindo) had transferred some US$46 million in 1994 to APHI.

Sudjasmin was the head of the auditing team for Apkindo in 1998, a year after his retirement from the Military.

"I was summoned to clarify the auditing results," he told journalists after three hours of questioning. He did not deny that the money was allegedly mishandled by Bob, who chaired both APHI and Apkindo at that time.

Arriving at 10:50 a.m. at the Attorney General's Office, former minister of forestry and plantations Muslimin Nasution was also questioned as another witness.

The questioning lasted almost five hours.(01)