Mon, 23 Oct 2000

Police ask House to send letter about Suwondo case

JAKARTA (JP): National Police Chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro said the House of Representative's special committee for the Bulog scandal could send an official letter to police requesting that Suwondo, a main suspect in the multibillion rupiah scam, be brought for questioning.

Speaking to reporters after installing Brig. Gen. Mulyono Sulaiman as the new Jakarta Police chief on Saturday, Bimantoro said that the letter would not be an automatic guarantee that police would allow Suwondo, who is currently under police detention, to go to the House for questioning over the case.

According to the police boss, he was not sure whether the existing laws allowed police to bring crime suspects to the House for questioning.

"Please send a request letter to us and then we will look into the regulation. Let's see... if the law allows it, then he (Suwondo) can give his explanation to the special committee," Bimantoro said.

"But if there are some differences of opinion, then we may have to wait for the decision from the Supreme Court. If the law gives us authorization, we do not mind," he added.

Alip Agung Suwondo, alias An Peng Sui, also known as President Abdurrahman Wahid's former masseur, has been named as a main suspect in the Rp 35 billion (US$3.9 million) scam allegedly disbursed from the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) employee foundation, Yanatera.

He was arrested by the police last week, but due to his ill mental and physical condition the police have yet to question him thoroughly.

Another suspect in the scandal, former Bulog deputy chief Sapuan, has already been tried at the South Jakarta District Court for his suspected role in disbursing the money to Suwondo, who he claims acted on behalf of the President.

Bimantoro said five members of the House's special committee, including legislators Didiek Suprianto of the PDI Perjuangan faction and Alvin Lie of the Reform Party faction, had appealed to him requesting that Suwondo be grilled by the committee.

He further emphasized that the police will not hamper the investigation by the House as long as the regulations allow them to submit Suwondo for questioning by the special committee.(dja/jaw)