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Jakarta Post

AGO continues hunt for Soeharto family foundation's assets

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, November 22, 2018   /   12:10 pm
AGO continues hunt for Soeharto family foundation's assets Berkarya Party chairman Hutomo Mandala Putra, also known as Tommy Soeharto (second left), the party's secretary general Priyo Budi Santoso (second right), new member Titiek Soerharto (center) and existing party members pose for a picture after a press conference in Bantul, Yogyakarta, on June 11. (Antara/Andreas Fitri Atmoko)

The Attorney General's Office (AGO) will continue to track down assets owned by the now-defunct Supersemar Foundation, which was set up by former president Soeharto, to ensure it will fulfill its obligation to pay trillions of rupiah in penalties to the state in relation to a misuse of funds.

Yogi Hasibuan, director of legal counsel at the Deputy Attorney General for Civil and State Administrative Court Affairs (Jamdatun), said his office would track down all assets, including those overseas until it collects the Rp 4.4 trillion (US$320 million) in fines the foundation is required to pay.

To date, the government has only been able to confiscate around Rp 242 billion from 113 bank accounts owned by the foundation, Yogi said.

"We will seek other [assets] to [collect] the penalty as stipulated in the court's verdict," Yogi said on Wednesday. "We also involved the AGO's Assets Recovery Center to find the assets."

The case dates back to 2008, when the AGO filed a lawsuit at the South Jakarta District Court accusing the Soeharto clan — also known as the Cendana family in reference to their home address — and the foundation of misusing scholarship funds by diverting them to family-owned companies, including Bank Duta in 1990 and airline PT Sempati Air from 1989 to 1997.

The court found only the foundation guilty and ordered it to pay a penalty.

The Supreme Court upheld the decision in 2010 and demanded that the foundation pay $315 million and Rp 139.2 billion, which had a combined value of Rp 4.4 trillion at that time.

The South Jakarta District Court, which is authorized to seize the foundation’s assets if it failed to pay the fine, recently seized the Granadi Building in South Jakarta following the confiscation of an 8,120-square-meter plot of land in Megamendung, Bogor, West Java, both in relation to the case.

Anton Arifullah, the AGO prosecutor who handled the Supersemar Foundation case, said the office was currently awaiting an assessment on the value of the building and the land on which it stands by a team of independent appraisals.

The AGO has also requested the South Jakarta District Court to seize six cars owned by the foundation.

"It's the court's authority to decide on which assets to be confiscated, as it has its own procedures. The AGO only tracks down and proposes the assets to be seized," Anton said.

The Granadi Building is reportedly being used as the office of shipping firm PT Humpuss Intermoda Transportasi, a company owned by Soeharto’s youngest son Hutomo Mandala Putra, popularly known as Tommy Soeharto, who is also chairman of the Berkarya Party.

Soeharto, the country's longest-serving president who ruled Indonesia for more than three decades, stepped down amid riots in 1998 and accusations of vast corruption and nepotism benefiting his cronies and family.

Tommy's lawyer, Erwin Kallo, defended his client, saying that Tommy did not have any involvement with the foundation case and thus the confiscation did not affect him at all.

"Pak Tommy's status is that of a renter [of office space at the building] and the Berkarya Party does not have its headquarters in the building," Erwin said, "Even if the building got confiscated, it has nothing to do with [Tommy]."

Members of the Cendana family, particularly Soeharto's children, are not obliged to fulfill  Supersemar’s obligation, because the court only named the foundation in its verdict, he added.

Erwin also questioned the court's decision to confiscate the building, because it had several owners — in which the Supersemar Foundation has about 20 percent ownership — and there might be a legal problem if the court decided to auction the building.

"I suspect that this case is politicized," Erwin said, pointing out to the fact that critics had linked the Supersemar Foundation's case to Tommy and the Berkarya Party, while the AGO is led by HM Prasetyo, a politician from the NasDem Party.

NasDem is a member of the ruling coalition backing the current administration and reelection of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in the 2019 presidential election, where the incumbent will face rival Prabowo Subianto, whose election bid is supported by the Berkarya Party.

Yogi has denied the accusation.