Gus Dur’s two financial scandals – Brunei aid ‘was not channelled to the government’

A 50-member parliamentary commission yesterday found President Abdurrahman Wahid guilty of ‘abuse of power’ in the Buloggate and Bruneigate scandals after a six-month probe. But its 33-page report, a copy of which was obtained by The Straits Times, offers no new or conclusive proof that the President benefited personally from the two financial scandals.

THE parliamentary commission’s main concern was that President Abdurrahman had not channelled the US$2-million (S$3.5-million) donation from the Sultan of Brunei for humanitarian aid to the government as required by Indonesian law.

“According to the law, the President should pay it as soon as possible to the state,” it said.

“Those who do not pay or report non-taxable income can be punished for six years in jail and pay a fine of up to four times the total amount which was not reported or paid.”

The report maintained that, like Buloggate, it had no objection to Mr Abdurrahman soliciting funds to help restive provinces in dire need like Aceh.

But Mr Abdurrahman had reportedly bypassed government channels to accept the donation.

The commission said that there was also “misinformation” on how the aid was spent.

The President said the funds had been channelled to Aceh, Maluku, West Kalimantan and Irian Jaya. But others said during closed-door hearings that only Aceh and Riau received the money.

The report said it was also not very clear how much was disbursed to Aceh, with figures ranging from 5 billion rupiah (S$950,000) to 6.5 billion rupiah.

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