Sukhoi partner blasted as crash victims are buried
As the government formally handed over the remains of those who perished in the Sukhoi Superjet 100 crash to their families on Wednesday, a group of NGOs began questioning the role of a local company which brokered the entrance of Sukhoi into the Indonesian market.
Transportation Minister E.E. Mangindaan, representing the Indonesian government, handed over the remains to family members and loved ones in a ceremony at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta on Wednesday.
Also present at the ceremony were the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief Air Vice Marshall Daryatmo and representatives from the Russian, US and French embassies in Jakarta.
“On behalf of the Indonesian government, we send our deepest sympathies to the victims. We send them our prayers,” Mangindaan said.
He also thanked members of the Basarnas, Indonesian Military, National Police, Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and volunteers who had joined the gruesome two-week search and rescue operation.
Soon after the hand-over ceremony, 35 ambulances carried the remains of the Indonesian victims to their burial sites. The remains of 10 foreign nationals would be flown back to their countries later on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a coalition of human rights groups called on the owner of PT Trimarga Rekatama, the local agent for Sukhoi airplanes, to come forward and assume responsibility for the accident.
The coalition, comprising of human rights watchdog Imparsial, Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Institute for Defense and Peace Studies (IDSPS), the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam), the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) and the Indonesian Institute for Strategic and Defense Studies (Lesperssi), criticized businessman Eng Jin Tjong, also known as Sudjito Ng, owner of Trimarga, for failing to make any statement regarding the crash.
“The company is currently in the spotlight, but the owner has always assigned his consultants to make public statements. He never does it himself. Where is he?” said Al Araf, program director of Imparsial.
He said that whereas President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono himself had visited the victims’ families, Sudjito’s whereabouts remained unknown.
The coalition also questioned the role of Trimarga in the Defense Ministry’s plan to purchase six Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 MK2 jet fighters to complete the Air Force’s Sukhoi squadron.
Last December, through Trimarga, the government proceeded with the US$470 million purchase. However, according to the groups, the actual cost was no more than $420 million and that there had been a $50 million markup.
On March 20, the coalition filed a report to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) regarding the markup.
Wahyudi Djafar of Elsam said on Wednesday that the government should have involved Russian company Rosoboronexport instead of Trimarga in the deal. He said the deal should only have involved the governments of the two countries.
“Rosoboronexport is Russia’s sole intermediary agency in the sale of military products. It has a representative office in Indonesia. So, what’s Trimarga doing in all this? The status of this company is not even clear,” he said.
The coalition claimed that Rosoboronexport had offered the fighters at a price of between $50 million and $70 million each in August 2011.
“But the government opted to buy the same jets for a higher price and that does not include the purchase of the jets’ engines,” he added. (tas/png)