Suharto’s son likely to face graft charges


FORMER President Suharto’s flamboyant youngest son moved closer to facing corruption charges and a hefty jail sentence over a multi-million-dollar land scam after the Attorney-General’s Office here transferred his dossier to the prosecution.

The prosecutor’s office is being given a week to look into Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra’s dossier before making recommendations for a trial.

“The dossiers of the suspects have been submitted to the prosecutor,” said Mr Antonious Sujata from the Attorney-General’s Office. “If the dossiers are deemed complete, the case will immediately be transferred to the court.”

Mr Hutomo, who was banned from travelling after he was declared a suspect in the case, is believed to be involved in an alleged scam surrounding a 1997 real estate deal involving the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) and a private company, Goro.

The deal allowed Goro, which is 40 per cent owned by Mr Hutomo and businessman Ricardo Gelael, to build a retail centre on land in an affluent residential area in North Jakarta owned by Bulog.

But Goro failed to keep its side of the bargain, which was to give 63 ha of land to the agency. This resulted in an estimated loss of 52.5 billion rupiah (S$10.23 million) to the government.

More than 30 witnesses were questioned in the last three months. This included former finance minister Mar’ie Muhammad and former state secretary Moerdiono.

Political observers here said that if Mr Hutomo, who at one point refused to obey a summons by the attorney-general, was charged and convicted, he could face a maximum of 20 years in jail. Some, however, speculate that the government’s latest initiative is an attempt “to show the public it is sincere in its efforts to act against the Suharto family” after the fracas involving the potentially damning telephone conversation between President B.J. Habibie and Attorney-General Andi Muhamad Ghalib.

The Feb 17 edition of the Panji Masyarakat weekly magazine ran a cover story carrying a transcript of a telephone conversation said to be between the two men.

Mr Suharto was questioned in December and a number of his business relatives and business associates have been investigated.

Mr Hutomo, who has a playboy reputation and one of the highest profiles among the six Suharto children, is the first in the family to come close to be being charged. His elder sister Siti “Tutut” Hadiyanti Rukmana and brother Bambang Trihatmodjo are also facing the heat of investigation into their business activities.

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