Tue, 10 Oct 2000

House's team to summon Gus Dur over scandals

JAKARTA (JP): The House of Representatives' special committee agreed on Monday to question 25 people, including President Abdurrahman Wahid, over allegations of mishandling of funds at the State Logistic Agency (Bulog) and donations from Brunei, the committee's deputy chairman Alvin Lie said on Monday.

"If the President is found to have been involved in the scandals, we might call a special session of the People's Consultative Assembly," Alvin of the National Mandate Party (PAN) told reporters after the committee's internal meeting.

The alleged scandal at Bulog surfaced in April when it was disclosed that Rp 35 billion (US$4.2 million) of funds belonging to the agency's employees foundation had been diverted, allegedly at the President's request, to finance humanitarian programs in Aceh. The money, however, reportedly went into the pockets of people close to Gus Dur, as the President is widely known.

The President's denial of complicity in the Bulog-gate affair only led to Brunei-gate, after he disclosed that instead of using Bulog's funds, he had disbursed $2 million of money donated by Brunei sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Besides Abdurrahman, Alvin said Minister of Foreign Affairs Alwi Shihab, former Minister of Industry and Trade/Bulog chief Yusuf Kalla, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Rizal Ramli, former Secretary of Government Supervision Bondan Gunawan would also be questioned.

Other names on the list are Abdurrahman's masseur, Suwondo, who is still at large, his wife Teti Nursetiati and brother-in- law Navy Maj. Wawan.

The President's close aides, treasurer of Nahdlatul Ulama Muslim organization Masnuh, businesswoman Siti Farikha, businessman Aris Junaidi are listed as well, he said.

Alvin said Suko Sudarso, an executive of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), and Afdhal Yasin, chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB) chapter in Aceh, are among people to be summoned.

He said Bulog's former deputy chief Sapuan, who is now on trial in connection with this scandal, and his subordinates, Saleh Sofyan, Mulyono Makmur, Muharto and M. Yacob Ishak are also to be questioned.

Meanwhile, the committee's chairman Bachtiar Chamsyah said the number of people to be questioned might be changed depend on the approval of the committee which would meet on Tuesday.

"The list is decided by the committee's leadership meeting. It might be added or reduced tomorrow (Tuesday)," Bachtiar of the United Development Party (PPP) said.

But he cautioned that the 50-member committee would not work smoothly since the members come from various factions in the House.

"The leadership of the committee is a solid team but not all the members since they come various parties," he said.

The committee has three deputy chairmen. The other deputy chairmen are Didi Suprianto from PDI Perjuangan and M. Hatta from Golkar Party.

Bachtiar said the committee hoped to complete its investigation of the scandals this year.

"We hope the public will know this year whether the President is implicated or not," he said after the meeting.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Alwi Shihab said he is ready for the quiz by the House committee, saying that the Brunei donation was a personal matter.

"Our ministry has no official letters related to the donation. I have met with the Sultan before and he said he wanted, in his personal capacity, to help solve the Aceh problem," Alwi told The Jakarta Post on Monday evening. (jun)