Tuesday, Mar 26, 2002
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Amit Baruah
SINGAPORE, March 25. Indonesia's most high-profile corruption trial got underway today with the House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker, Akbar Tandjung, making his first appearance at a Central Jakarta court.
Mr. Akbar, who is charged with the embezzlement of $4 million (U.S.) belonging to the State Logistics Agency (Bulog), is also chairman of the Golkar party, which is part of the coalition Government headed by the President, Megawati Sukarnoputri. ``The defendant, Akbar Tandjung... collectively with other defendants... has committed an act to make profit for himself, others or an institution and misused his authority,'' one of the State prosecutors told the court. Since his arrest on March 7, Mr. Akbar has been kept in a cell in the Attorney-General's office.
If convicted in the case, Mr. Akbar can be sentenced to 20 years in jail. The graft charges relate to the period when the Golkar leader was State/Cabinet Secretary under the then President, B.J. Habibie, in 1999. For his part, Mr. Akbar, who was seen as a potential candidate for the job of President in 2004, has denied any wrongdoing. He has previously claimed that the money was used by a charity to buy food for poor villagers.
Interestingly, the money which went "missing'' has been returned by one of Mr. Abkar's co-accused in the case. There has been some speculation that the "return'' of the money would be used by the defence to argue for dropping of the charges against the accused persons, including Mr. Akbar.
In a similar charge against the then President, Abdurrahman Wahid, the DPR set up a committee to pursue the case, eventually leading to his impeachment.
In the present case, the ruling PDI-P party has stalled the creation of a parliamentary committee, which some believe would lead to a speedier conclusion in the corruption charges.
Mr. Akbar has, so far, refused to step down as Speaker, despite demands from political and civil society groups.
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | Home |
Copyright © 2002, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of