Fri, 08 Dec 2000

Probe into Bulog scandal to continue during recess

JAKARTA (JP): House of Representatives Speaker Akbar Tandjung said on Thursday the special committee investigating two financial scandals linked to President Abdurrahman Wahid could continue its work during the House's month-long recess, which begins on Monday.

"As long as the investigation does not hamper the legislators' planned visits to their respective constituencies, the probe may continue so it can be completed this month," Akbar told a group of students from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture at the House.

Akbar also received a student group from Trisakti University in West Jakarta. This group urged the special committee to be fair and objective in its investigation of the two scandals, which center on Abdurrahman's alleged role in the misuse of Rp 35 billion (US$3.6 million) from the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) and a $2 million donation from Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah to the President.

The students also met with the members of the special committee and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) faction.

Didi Supriyanto, deputy chairman of the special committee, said the committee was committed to completing the investigation as soon as possible, and would not accept a back-room deal to freeze the investigation.

"There will be no political deals behind this investigation, because the House is determined to exercise its right to seek the truth in the two scandals," he said.

He added that the House could ask the People's Consultative Assembly to hold a special session to impeach the President if he was found guilty in the two scandals.

Chairman of the special committee Bachtiar Chamsyah of the United Development Party (PPP) faction said the special committee members would go to the State Palace to question the President and to the City Police's detention center where the main suspect and Gus Dur's masseur Suwondo is being held.

Bachtiar said the special committee would seek a clarification from the President over former National Police chief Gen. Rusdihardjo's recent testimony, while Suwondo would be interrogated over the President's knowledge about the scandal. (rms)