Wed, 14 Jun 2000

Suwondo hands over car to city police

JAKARTA (JP): In attempt to pay back the Rp 35 billion (US$4.1 million) he allegedly took from the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) employees foundation Yanatera, President Abdurrahman Wahid's masseur Suwondo handed over one of his three luxury cars to city police on Tuesday.

The car, a Range Rover, was handed over by Petrus Loyani, a lawyer representing politician Suko Sudarso and Suwondo's business associate Hendrie Arioseno. Suko, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle's (PDI Perjuangan) research and development department and Hendrie have both been implicated in the Bulog scandal.

The lawyer said the return of the car was to convince the city police that his clients were not involved in the scandal, which led to then acting State Secretary Bondan Gunawan to resign late last month.

"It shows that we are transparent enough in this case," Loyani said, after officially handing over the car to city police economic detectives chief Maj. Tito Karnavian.

Loyani alleged that Suwondo had bought the car, along with a BMW Z-3 and a Mercedes "New Eyes", with money he was supposed to pay to Hendrie.

He said Suwondo still owed Hendrie Rp 7 billion out of the total Rp 15 billion he had to pay to his client.

"Suwondo was supposed to pay Hendrie Rp 15 billion for the procurement of a 100-hectare plot of land in Cianjur that was owned by Hendrie.

"But, since he needed the Rp 7 billion, Suwondo told Hendrie that he would pay the remaining debt later," said Loyani.

He said Hendrie let Suwondo pay the remaining Rp 7 billion later and that Suwondo had promised him that he would buy more land from Hendrie.

"However, it was proven later that Suwondo was not able to pay the remaining debt.

"Therefore, we began to push Suwondo to settle his debt," Loyani said, adding that he only asked Teti Nursetiati, Suwondo's wife, to return the Range Rover last May.

He said Teti had promised him she would settle her husband's debt and insisted that the handover of the cars was an initial step in paying all the remaining Rp 7 billion.

"The three cars totaled Rp 2.6 billion. Teti has promised to hand over the other two cars in the near future," he said.

Loyani said he would file a lawsuit against Teti because she had handed over the Range Rover without the official documents.

"We considered it to be a fraud since she handed over the jeep without proper documents," he said.

Media reports have said Rp 10 billion of the Yanatera's fund had gone to Suwondo's account; another Rp 15 billion to a bank account belonging to Suko Sudarso; another Rp 5 billion to an account of Leo Purnomo, allegedly a staff member at Air Wagon (AWAIR) air freight company, reportedly owned by President Abdurrahman Wahid; and the other Rp 5 billion to an account belonging to Siti Farika, a Central Java-based businesswoman.

Suwondo, through his wife Teti, returned his Rp 10 billion to Yanatera last Wednesday, followed by Siti Farika, who returned her Rp 5 billion the next day.

Meanwhile, the police froze Leo Purnomo's account at Bank BCA's Tomang branch on Monday since Leo is still at large.

The police have named three suspects in the scandal: Suwondo, former Bulog deputy chairman Sapuan and Yanatera chairman Mulyono. (08/asa)