CHOPPING THE GLOBAL TENTACLES OF THE SUHARTO OLIGARCHY: Can Aotearoa (New Zealand) Lead The Way?
By Dr. George J. Aditjondro
(University of Newcastle, Australia)
Ladies and gentlemen,
In respect of the original inhabitants of this country, let me express the following greeting to you:
'Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou korua'
IT is indeed an honour to be invited for the third time to this lovely country of the long white cloud, Aotearoa. Therefore, allow me to express my gratitude to the following friends for organizing this conference and inviting me to speak: Maire Leadbeater and her colleagues from the Indonesian Human Rights Committee (IHRC), Murray Horton and his comrades from Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA), Dr Xin Chen from the New Zealand Asia Institute (NZAI), and my old friends, Dr Tim Behrend and Saut Situmorang from the Indonesian Section of the Department of Asian Languages and Literature of the University of Auckland.
Setting my feet for the third time on this nation, and especially in Tamaki Makau Rau, or what the pakeha call Auckland, make me wonder: how many conferences and speaking tours and investigative trips do I need to make, before one of the most important goals of the Indonesian pro-democracy movement, namely forcing Suharto to return their ill-gotten wealth to the Indonesian people, can be achieved?
However, to answer that question one should be inspired by the persistence of the Timor Lorosa'e (East Timor) solidarity movement, which has achieved its immediate goal: to determine the future of the Maubere people through a UN-supervised referendum!
Therefore, I am so delighted -- and I believe, so are many of my comrades in Indonesia -- that the Timor Lorosa'e solidarity movement in Aotearoa have taken up the noble task to support the Indonesian pro-democracy movement, by campaigning to have all the assets of the Suharto family and their cronies seized by the newly elected Aotearoa government, to be followed, I think, by returning the proceeds of the sales to the Indonesian people.
I am also happy to see that the newly elected government in this country, has taken such an interest in this campaign, as proven by the participation in this conference of three top politicians who may be in charge of seizing Suharto's illgotten wealth in Aotearoa: Rt. Hon. Phil Goff (Labour), the new Minister of Foreign Affairs; Hon. Matt Robson ( Alliance), the new Minister for Disarmament and Corrections; and Keith Locke, Green Party Spokeperson for Foreign Affairs and Defense.
I have much hope in Aotearoa's potential to play a leading role in chopping the global tentacles of the Suharto oligarchy, for several reasons. First of all, the peace and anti-nuclear movement in Aotearoa has played -- and is still playing -- a leading role in the global movement to disarm the nuclear powers in the world, and especially in this region.
Secondly, in the struggle to liberate Timor Lorosa'e from Indonesia -- and Indonesia from the economic and moral burden of becoming a new colonial power -- Aotearoa has also shown a leading role. If my memory serves me correct, Mr. Phil Goff has played an important part in that struggle, for instance when he in 1995, with fellow Labour MP Chris Carter presented a private members' bill in the Parliament, in response to Aotearoa's military exercises with Indonesia. This bill requires the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade to determine whether any country with which Aotearoa has defense cooperation is using its armed forces to deny human rights and to suspend such cooperation if this is found to be the case.
I do hope that that bill had been passed by the Parliament, for the following reasons. First, parts of the Indonesian armed forces are still clandestinely supporting the paramilitary forces in West Timor, which have increasingly intruded into Timor Lorosa'e.
Secondly, in the former sultanate of Acheh on the northern tip of Sumatra, the Indonesian military, police and paramilitary forces are waging a bloody war against unarmed civilians -- mostly student activists -- who have called for a similar referendum as in Timor Lorosa'e to determine the future of their country: to stay as an integral part of the Republic of Indonesia, probably after Indonesia's transformation from a unitary to a federal republic, or to choose the path of independence.
A similar bloody struggle has intensified in West Papua, the former Dutch colony which was deprived of its right to seccede from the Indonesian Republic in the 1969 fake referendum. Just last March, young people who were guarding the pole where they had hoisted the Free West Papua flag, the Morning Star, were shot dead by the elite forces of the Indonesian police, Brimob in the town of Nabire on the northern coast.
Therefore, any defense cooperation between Wellington and Jakarta would certainly violate that bill or act (law). Unfortunately, as much as I like to talk about that, I have currently been invited not to talk about the human rights violations carried out under the previous regimes in Jakartga, but on the globalisation of Suharto's illgotten wealth and what our Kiwi comrades can do to chop its tentacles in this country.
Such international pressure is extremely important, since the two successive regimes in Jakarta have had not much progress in taking Suharto to court and in forcing him and his relatives and friends to return their illgotten wealth to the Indonesian people. Therefore, before talking about the globalisation, or, 'internationalisation' of the illgotten wealth, one first has to understand how the wealth was accumulated, domestically. This exercise may also help to expose the tremendous challenges faced by any regime in Jakarta which dreams to appropriate that wealth. Only after exposing those means will I touch upon the globalisation of the wealth and how our Kiwi comrades may help to 'chop the oligarchy's tentacles'.
Based on my documentary research, field observations and interviews with sources in fifteen countries, I have identified the following methods by which Suharto and his family amassed their ill-gotten wealth.
DOMESTIC WEALTH ACCUMULATION
Domestically, one can distinguish two sets of methods, namely 'the carrots,' or the promotional methods, and 'the sticks' or the repressive methods used to discourage anybody from questioning the greed of the Suhartos and their friends.
The wealth accumulation of this family began with the wheat-import-and-flour-milling monopoly granted in 1969 to PT Bogasari, a company set up by Suharto's oldest business partner, Liem Sioe Liong and Suharto's cousin, Sudwikatmono. They initially used American wheat supplied under the Public Law 480 "Food-for-Peace" Program of the US government, but after the demand for instant noodles was strongly entrenched among Indonesian and overseas customers, they began to import directly from the US, Canada, Australia, and Argentina.
The second strategic commodity the Suharto family was able to monopolize was the import of cloves from Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Malagasy (Madagascar), to supply the needs of Indonesia's clove cigarette (kretek ) factories. The Zanzibari cloves were actually a part-payment of the Tanzanian government of the late Julius Nyerere for China's technical assistance to build the 1150 miles Uhuru (Freedom) railway between Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania to the central Zambian town of Kapiri Mposhi. A marvelous project of non-capitalist, non-World Bank South-South cooperation. But ironically, since 1975 Beijing approached Liem to relieve them of the unwanted supplies of cloves, turning the 'socialist' cloves into a purely crony capitalist commodity.
Eventually, during his 32-years-reign, Suharto repeatedly established monopolies in numerous strategic economic sectors to benefit companies owned by his children, grandchildren, political allies, relatives, friends, and business associates.
During his thirty-two-year reign, Suharto, his late wife, and their six children and their inlaws have set up numerous foundations, or yayasans as they are called in Indonesian, whose stated purpose was to fund a variety of social and charitable objectives. In reality, Suharto used these yayasans to avoid taxation and to accumulate wealth by blurring the distinction between public and private companies. By presidential decree, Suharto extorted money from private and public companies by requiring that they pay levies and make "donations" to these yayasans.
The five largest yayasans -- Dakab, Dharmais, Supersemar, Tritura, and Amalbhakti Muslim Pancasila -- were all headed by Suharto himself and managed by family members, former generals, and bureaucrats or Suharto's business associates. Although the yayasans were indirectly funded by the public, the money collected and spent by these entities was not subject to oversight by the state. All financial activities of the yayasans were controlled by Suharto's inner circle and were not subject to public supervision. A large portion of the yayasans' funds were used to purchase controlling shares of companies for Suharto family members, friends, political allies, and business associates.
Many of these charities were operating out of government offices and were managed by civil servants and their families, ranging from the State Secretariate in Jakarta (homebase for Yayasan Amalbhakti Muslim Pancasila) to the Indonesian embassies in Paramaribo, Suriname (which supported the logging business operating Yayasan Kemusuk Somenggalan) and Moscow, Russia (which supported Yayasan Balai, that promoted Suharto-linked businesses in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia).
Abusing Government Facilities:
During his seven terms of office as President, Suharto consistently made private use of public facilities. He hijacked government institutions and facilities to make profits for himself, his family, and his cronies. He made state employees work for the private companies of his children, and he turned the Indonesian Armed Forces into his private army. For instance, in the mid-1970s, Suharto set up his family ranch at Tapos, near Bogor, West Java, on 751 hectares of land appropriated from local peasants and then donated by the governor of West Java, General Solichin G.P. The ranch's infrastructure was "donated" by the Ministry of Public Works. The cattle for the ranch was shipped from Australia to Java on Indonesian Navy vessels, which were returning from a mission to drop troops off in East Timor.
Hijacking State Companies:
In addition to abusing state facilities, Suharto and his family and cronies have taken over -- completely or signifanty -- state corporations for their own private benefits. The most blatant example is the take over of PT P.P. (Pilot Project) Berdikari, technically a state-owned company but actually a holding company collecting political funds for Suharto. Before being transferred to Berdikari, the company's assets were owned by Abdul Rachman Aslam, Teuku Markam, and Ibrahim Tambunan, three close associates of the late President Sukarno who respectively hailed from Acheh and North Sumatra.
After accusing Aslam of being a Communist, all the assets of the three business people were taken over by Soeharto, whom on August 14, 1966, established PT PP Berdikari to manage those assets. The total assets of the three former entrepreneurs were huge, although still nothing compared to the wealth of the current members of Suharto's oligarchy. Markam's assets only were worth US$ 460 million at that time.
Slowly but surely, with the assistance of his confidant, General Bustanil Arifin, the legal status of this company was transformed into a private enterprise which was wholly owned by three of Suharto's wealthies yayasans, Dakab, Dharmais, and Supersemar. Berdikari's bank, Bank Duta, was also changed into a private bank owned by those three yayasans.
Since the downfall of the dictator, the heirs of AR Aslam and Teuku Markam, who respectively passed away in 1983 and 1985, as well as Ibrahim Tambunan have planned to sue Suharto for seizing their families assets. So far, no progress has been made.
The Berdikari case, however, is only a very small example of how state companies have been hijacked by Suharto family members. The most 'popular' form, which emerged when the Suharto children rushed into business, was to force most state companies to form joint ventures with Suharto family companies. The state owned road management company, PT Jasa Marga, is a shareholder in Ms. Rukmana's private toll-road company, PT Citra Marga Nusaphala Persada. The company had no reason to complain when the parliament, controlled by Suharto, approved annual hikes in the toll. Theoretically, Jasa Marga was making money too. Consequently, by blurring the difference between these public and private enterprises, the Suharto oligarchy passed along to Indonesian taxpayers the inflated costs of crony capitalism.
This pattern was often repeated over the years, enabling the Suharto children to build their television stations, toll roads, telecommunications networks, supermarkets and other businesses with the minimum capital and little or no competition at all from similar companies.
The Misuse of Presidential Decrees
During his years in power, Suharto repeatedly ignored the provision of Indonesia's 1945 Constitution requiring that any use of public finances be approved by the Parliament. Throughout his terms as president, Suharto consistently issued presidential decrees and ministerial decisions to benefit his family and inner circle without seeking parliamentary approval. This misuse of public funds created huge losses to the state and the resulting high-cost economy ultimately led to the collapse of Indonesia's economy and Suharto's ouster from power in 1998.
In flagrant violation of the principle of rule of law, Suharto repeatedly issued presidential decrees for the specific and sole purpose of benefiting a single company owned by a family member or friend (as in the cases of the National Car Program, the clove and citrus fruit monopolies, etc.).
Gate-keeping and Rent Seeking:
Suharto created an environment in which all major businesses, domestic or foreign, had little choice but to provide cost-free shares and management positions to Suharto's family and friends in order to do business in Indonesia. The 1997 controversy surrounding the Busang gold mine in East Kalimantan highlights the limitless greed of the Suharto family and the reality that doing business in Indonesia under Suharto meant doing business with his family and friends.
In 1997, Bre-X, a small Canadian mining company, reported finding a huge gold deposit at the Busang mine in East Kalimantan. Bre-X did not have adequate resources to develop the infrastructure needed to mine what might be one of the world's largest gold deposits according to preliminary results. Bre-X was therefore looking for a partner to help develop Busang. The Suharto government wasted no time in assuring that Cendana interests got a piece of the action. To accomplish this, the Suharto government ordered Bre-X to sell majority control of the Busang mine to Barrick, a large Canadian mining company that had entered a partnership with a Tutut Rukmana, Suharto's daughter.
Meanwhile, Bre-X tried to play by the same rules and entered a partnership with an Indonesian company controlled by Tutut's brother Sigit. The negotiations between Barrick and Bre-X fell apart by November 1997. In early December, Suharto intervened personally and asked his old friend Mohamad Hasan, a billionaire timber tycoon, to broker an agreement on who would exploit what might be the biggest gold discovery in history. Hasan then negotiated a deal for the exploitation of the Busang deposit that assured that both he and the Suharto family would get their share. The deal negotiated by Hasan called for Bre-X to retain 45% of the Busang mine and for Freeport-McMoRan, an American company run by Suharto's friend Jim Bob Moffett, to get 15% of the mine. Another 10% went to the Indonesian government, and the remaining 30% went to companies connected to the Suharto family and Hasan.
The race to mine the riches of Busang turned out to be a bust when tests revealed that Busang did not contain the large gold deposits initially reported. Still, the Busang debacle is a representative example of how foreign companies did business in Indonesia under Suharto and how the Suharto family extracted lucrative deals at every opportunity. This additional cost imposed on businesses operating in Indonesia contributed to the high-cost economy that eventually led to Indonesia's economic collapse in 1998.
Getting the Military On the Greasy Bandwagon:
Under Suharto's 'New Order' regime, the military's political role was justified by the so-called "dual function" (dwifungsi ) doctrine, borne out of the competition between the military, especially the Army, and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) for hegemonic control over the country's political and economic systems.
This political role of the Indonesian armed forces, which from 1965 till 1998 included the Indonesian police (Polri), was further extended in the early 1960s to include a growing control over the Indonesian economy, beginning with the take over of oil fields and plantations in the Outer Islands by the Army after these economic assets were abandoned by Dutch and British corporations, forced out of the country due to Indonesia's confrontation with the Dutch (over the political future of West Papua) and with the British and what then was still Malaya (over the inclusion of the former British territories in Northern Kalimantan in the proposed transformation of Malaya into Malaysia).
After Suharto putsch of Sukarno in 1965-1966, the armed forces (ABRI)'s economic role obtained a further push, to reward them for their support in exterminating between a half to two million Indonesian citizens, who had been the power base of the Indonesian Communist Party. Following Suharto's example of forming military charities, which Suharto had began in the 1950s, when he was the army commander of Central Java, military charities began to flourish since 1965, with nearly every military unit forming a business unit, supposedly to compensate the meagre budgetary allocation to the armed forces with funds which could then be used to improve the welfare of the rank-and-file soldiers and police officers.
The 32-years rule of Suharto has obviously left a legacy of numerous military charities and cooperatives all over the country and in all important economic sectors, which are closely intertwined with business enterprises owned by Suharto and his families and cronies. Most of those cronies themselves are, like Suharto, retired officers, or, business enterpreneurs who could make it into Suharto's inner circle by trading favours with the Suharto family.
Among all those military charities, two of the most powerful ones, due to their affiliation with the most powerful military units, are the Kobame (Korps Baret Merah) Foundation and the Kartika Eka Paksi Foundation. The Kobame Foundation is linked to the army's special force, Kopassus, whose obvious symbol is their red berrets (= baret merah ), which owns the new Graha Cijantung shopping mall on Kopassus land at their Cijantung headquarters south of Jakarta, part-ownerships in the Horizon Hotel in Jakarta and a timber concession in Kalimantan, methanol distribution agency from the state oil mining company, Pertamina, a Java-Sumatra shipping line, and a coal bricket company partly owned by Suharto's eldest son, Sigit Harjojudanto.
The Kobame's economic assets, however, are negligible compared to the economic assets of the Kartika Eka Paksi Foundation, which are co-shareholders with two Sino-Indonesian businessmen -- Tommy Winata (born 1958) and Sugianto Kusuma (born 1951) -- who injected capital into the foundation in 1985. This military-Sino Indonesian joint business conglomerate was since called the Artha Graha (lit.: "house of money") Group, with Rp 3.7 trillion worth of assets, including joint ventures with Suharto's middle son, Bambang Trihatmodjo, in satellite communication to a fishing fleet in the Banda Sea in Maluku.
Artha Graha's operations are not limited to the economic sphere, however. Their two top executives, Tommy Winata and Sugianto Kumala, are also linked to the Jakarta underworld, including Yorris Raweyai, a leader of Pemuda Pancasila (Pancasila Youth), Indonesia's largest organisation of political thugs. The chairperson of this organisation, Yapto Suryosumarno, is close to the Suharto kids, being also the son of a retired general and also a member of the Mangkunegara court in Solo (Central Java), to which the late Mrs. Tien Suharto and currently, Tommy Suharto's wife, are related. In addition, Yapto is also co-shareholder of the large Tipperary ranch in Australia's Northern Territory, together with another Suharto crony, Aburizal Bakrie.
Pemuda Pancasila is quite notorious among the Indonesian pro-democracy activists for doing the dirty work for the military. Many of the most prominent pro-democracy leaders, such as Megawati Sukarnoputri, Sri Bintang Pamungkas, and Mochtar Pakpahan, have felt the brunt of Pemuda Pancasila thugs, who have attacked their public rallies and attempted to turn peaceful demonstrations into violent riots.
Meanwhile, the Kopassus forces themselves were never running out of funds to carry out their 'counter-insurgency' operations. Apart from funds from their commander's brother, Hashim Djojohadikusumo, it has recently been revealed that a group of fourty ethnic Chinese tycoons used to contribute Rp 10 million (A$ 2,000) a month each to Kopassus to enable its units to have the best equipment and training. They even built a mess hall for the Kopassus base in Cijantung shortly before the May 1998 riots. The implicit understanding was that, at the least, the businessmen would never have to worry about the security of their families and property. The payment ceased after the riots, even though the fourty businessmen found mobs stopping short of their front doors. The sense of betrayal was too much for them.
Forming An Oligarchy, Where Everybody Is Tainted With Corruption:
As all the previous examples show, Suharto must have intentionally involved so many of his civilian and military co-workers in his family businesses, and thereby created an oligarchy, where most of his closest confidants were also tainted with various forms of corruption.
One of his closest confidants, who also had to accept the presidential baton after the student movement forced Suharto to step down, was B.J. Habibie. As my research has shown, the Habibie family was also closely involved in many sectors of the Suharto family businesses, especially those based on the Batam Island export processing zone, the chemical manufacturing business, and the electronic and telecommunication business.
The Habibie family, however, is not the only 'bureaucrat-capitalist' family one closely involved in the Suharto family businesses. As mentioned before, former Information Minister Harmoko and his relatives are involved in numerous print and electronic media co-owned by the Suharto family. While in private power generating companies, the Suhartos have involved relatives of former Development Planning Minister, Ginanjar Kartasasmita, and former Employment Minister, Abdul Latief. Kartasasmita and Latief's relatives are deeply involved in infrastructure companies related to the Freeport Indonesia copper-gold-and-silver mine, in which Bob Hasan's Nusamba Group represent the Suharto family interests.
Even family members of Ret. General Benny Murdani, who was sacked from his post as armed forces commander in the early 1990s for criticizing the president's children's business appetitehas three brothers involved companies close to the Suharto family. One of them, Harry Murdani, is a co-shareholder in the integrated crocodile farm-piggery-and-orchid farm of PT Sinar Culindo Perkasa on Bulan Island near Singapore, with Anthony Salim, Tommy Suharto, and Timmy Habibie. Two other brothers, Henricus Sandy Murdani and Ir. A. Mudjono Murdani, are involved in PT Kodeco Batulicin Plywood in South Kalimantan. This Indo-Korean joint venture has formed a cement factory with the Salim Group to supply power to the plywood factory. Furthermore, Mudjono Murdani is also involved in PT Cipta Teknik Abadi, a palm oil exporter which is co-owned by the family of Ret. General Yoga Sugama, former intelligence chief whose wife is related to the late Mrs. Tien Suharto.
Thus we see how systematically Suharto former his oligarchy during his 32-years of tenure as Indonesia's president, which eventually functioned as his 'insurance' after his political downfall. Too many heads may roll, if Suharto is taken to court, and he definitely knows that.
Funding pro-Suharto Politicians:
Since Suharto stepped down on May 21, 1998, and his successor, B.J. Habibie had been forced to hold a genuine, multi-party election, several Suharto family members have become an active financial sponsor of numerous political parties. One of them is Ret. General Ibnu Hartomo, a younger brother of the late Mrs. Tien Suharto, who is still implicated in a major fraud case in the US.He has publicly stated that he was sponsoring between new political parties which were preparing for the 1998 general election and wanted to prevent Suharto from being tried. The number of political parties sponsored by Ibnu Hartomo, varies between 12 and 70. Their weekly meetings with this brother-in-law of Suharto were organized by Agus Mitfah, formerly a close ally of the timber tycoon, Bob Hasan.
Other relatives of Suharto who are also involved in funding political parties which have entered the Indonesian electoral arena are Suharto's stepbrother, Probosutedjo, and Suharto's eldest daughter, Ms. Rukmana. After donating half a billion rupiah to one of the breakaway factions from the former Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI), in January 1999, Probosutedjo was elected as president of PNI Massa Marhaen. Eventually, in the June 1999 election this small party obtained one seat in the parliament, which obviously went to its new chairman, Probosutedjo. Attempts of former PNI members to unseat him through legal means, have not succeeded.
Meanwhile, Ms. Rukmana attempted to influence the previous general election through a crony of her, Faisal Tamin, a former official of the Department of Interior who was Ms. Rukmana's secretary in the Indonesian Red Cross, who managed to obtain a seat in the election organizing committee, or KPU (Komite Pemilihan Umum).
The chances for these Suharto-financed politicians to influence coming general elections should not be dismissed. Under the pretext of forming a new Muslim party, twelve political parties which only obtained 3% votes in last year's general election have stated that they plan to join forces in the 2004 elections. They have already proposed Adi Sasono, the former ICMI secretary general and controversial Minister of Cooperatives and Small Businesses in Dr Habibie's 16-months administration, to become the new party's chairman.
Abuse of the military, police and judicial system to repress critics:
Since the early 1970s, Suharto has abused the power of the police, military and judiciary to repress his critics. Many student leaders, academics, former civil servants and retired officers who criticized the construction of Mrs. Suharto's 'Mini Indonesia' theme park, the Suharto family ranch in Tapos, West Java, the Suharto family's mausoleum in Central Java have landed in jail, lost their jobs, or had their business licences revoled in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. In addition, print and electronic media which dared to publicize or broadcast any criticism of the Suharto family's wealth had their licences revoked and in many instances had their editors imprisoned after government-controlled trials.
Repressing critics through media censors while simultaneously further accumulating wealth by obtaining shares of numerous print and electronic media:
In addition to abusing the power of the police, military and judiciary, with the assistance of his cronies who were appointed as Minister of Information, Suharto had repeatedly repressed his critics through censoring the media and imprisoning their editors. At the same time, however, seeing the economic potential of the media, several of his Information Ministers, especially Harmoko, have further enriched themselves and the Suharto family by forcing publishers to appoint their family members as 'sleeping shareholders' in those companies, while the Suharto children themselves set up their own television broadcasting companies by initially abusing the facilities of the station of the state television company, TVRI, which is ironically owned by a foundation headed by Suharto himself (Yayasan TVRI).
Assasinating Vocal Critics:
Harrassment of critics of Suharto was not limited to the above mentioned relatively 'mild' forms of repression. Occassionally, politicians and journalists who exposed or were planning to expose the corruption of the president and his family were known to die mysteriously. One of the most well-known stories in the political circles is the death of Subchan Z.E., a 42-year old leader of the then Muslim party, Nahdlatul Ulama, a deputy leader of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), in a road accident in Saudi Arabia in January 1972. Subchan was known to be a very vocal critic of the regime, who had protested strongly against the repression against Muslim politicians during the 1971 general election.
As he told to AFP correspondent, Brian May, before he went to the pilgrimage, he was planning to expose Suharto's links with several top Sino-Indonesian tycoons who had invested their illgotten wealth in Singapore. The Suharto-linked businesses in Singapore, according to Subchan, were the Waringin Finance Ltd.'s jute mill and tin smelter, and the Ronbin Group businesses of Robin Loh. After Subchan's mysterious death in Saudi Arabia, Brian May published the humorous bachelor's allegations in his book on the Suharto regime. May himself was consequently expelled from the country.
May's lot, however, was still much better than Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin, popularly known as Udin. This Indonesian journalist of the Bernas daily newspaper died in a hospital in Yogyakarta on Friday, August 16, 1996, thrtee days after being attacked by two unknown men on the night of 13 August outside his rented home. Although his attackers have not yet been apprehended, fellow journalists in Indonesia strongly believe that the attack had something to do with his exposure of the corrupt links between a local district head, Col. Sri Roso Soedarmo (53 years) with Suharto's stepbrother, R. Noto Suwito, who also heads one of the Suharto yayasans which is involved in timber logging in Suriname. And although Col. Sri Roso was eventually court-martialed for allegedly promising a Suharto-linked foundation a sum of Rp 1 billion if he were re-elected, Udin's murderers have not yet been taken to justice.
Creating a Pro-Suharto Muslim Front By Splitting The Growing anti-Suharto Opposition Movement:
After indications that the Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) were no more solidly supporting Suharto's presidency and when movements within the civil society increasingly opposed his monolothic rule and the capital accumulation of his family and friends, Suharto began to mobilize support among Indonesian Muslims by framing himself as a defender of Muslim -- and indigenous -- Indonesian interests.
He managed to create a pro-Suharto Muslim front by taking three important steps. Firstly, in June 1991 he took his entire family and Muslim members of his cabinet to the haj pilgrimage, after which he changed his name into 'Haji Muhamad Suharto'. Secondly, through one of his foundations, Yayasan Amal Bhakti Muslimin Pancasila, which was based at the State Secretariate and staffed by State Secretariate personnel, Suharto began to donate the construction of mosques and Muslim boarding schools (pesantren) all over the country.
Thirdly, Suharto supported the formation of the Indonesian Muslim Scholars Association (ICMI), which was headed by his favourte Research & Technology Minister, the German-educated Dr. Baharuddin Jusuf (B.J.) Habibie. This semi-official organisation was based at Dr. Habibie's office and funded and staffed by Habibie's official staffpersons and was also supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indonesian state carrier, Garuda Indonesian Airways.
While splitting the embryonal opposition movement among the civil society by the formation of ICMI, Suharto's son-in-law, General Prabowo Subianto, who commanded the elite forces of the army (Kopassus) and later also the strategic reserve forces of the army (Kostrad) also began to split the ranks of ABRI along religious line to blur the real division between Suharto loyalists and Suharto opponents, who were labelled as being supporters of a retired general, Benny Murdani, who happens to be a Catholic and was supported by a private think tank, the CSIS (Centre for Strategic and International Studies), which was originally Suharto's think tank during the first two decades of his rule.
In addition, General Prabowo was also instrumental in building a Suharto support base among several groups of staunchly anti-Communist and anti-Christian Muslim clerics, formed in the wake of a campaign to support Bosnian Muslims. This group is called KISDI (Indonesian Committee in Solidarity with the Muslim World). The political aim of this step was to split the growing anti-Suharto movement among the two largest Indonesian Muslim organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, which among them have about sixty to seventy five million members.
Provoking anti-Chinese sentiments to divert attention away from the wealth accumulation by the Suharto family:
To further divert attention from the wealth accumulation by his family, Suharto undertook systematic steps to influence the public to blame top Chinese business people for Indonesia's economic problems. On March 4, 1990, Suharto summoned Indonesia's 31 top business leaders to his Tapos ranch where in front of the state-controlled television camers he appealed them to transfer 25% of their equity to cooperatives.
Since only two of the guests were non-Chinese and Suharto's own relatives and indigenous cronies were absent, this staged and highly publicized meeting reinforced the popular belief that the Chinese minority were the main benefactors of Indonesia's fantastic economic growth.
Then, after the 1996 financial crisis, with the enthusiastic help of his ambitious son-in-law, General Prabowo Subianto, Suharto escalated the campaign to blame the Chinese business minority for Indonesia's economic problems. This eventually led to the infamous anti-Chinese riots in May 1998, in which forces loyal to General Prabowo Subianto were allegedly involved, which resulted in thousands of deaths among the Jakarta poor and gang rapes of more than one hundred Sino-Indonesian women.
Developing Pro-Suharto Vigilante Forces:
During the last years of the Suharto era, his loyalists among the Indonesian army, especially the Kopassus clique of General Prabowo Subianto, began to form vigilante groups of civilians who were trained and led by drop outs from the Indonesian military academy in Magelang, Central Java. This 'Tidar Group', named after the famous hill in the center of the military academy, mobilized members of various martial art groups in Java to join this network, facilitated by General Prabowo's position as Kopassus commander and patron of a martial art group, Satria Muda Indonesia (SMI) as well as patron of the Indonesian martial arts association, IPSI (Ikatan Pencak Silat Indonesia). Eventually, students at various Muslim boarding schools and various Islamic congregations known as majelis taklim were also engaged in Prabowo's vigilante network, together with East Timorese and West Papuans to whom he lent his patronage. Their operations were funded by Bambang Trihatmodjo's Bimantara Group, as well as by the Suharto cronies within the state corporations.
A year later, these vigilante groups were joined by another network formed by Suharto's eldest daughter, Ms. Rukmana, which operated under the umbrella of YAKMI (Yayasan Kesejahteraan Masyarakat Indonesia), a new charity formed by Ms. Rukmana and a crony of the Suharto family, Abdul Gafur in May 1998. These two networks -- the Tidar Boys and the YAKMI volunteers -- provided many of the so-called 'self-help civilian guards' (PAM Swakarsa), which were involved in demonstrations against the student activists who demanded the trial of Suharto & Co, after Suharto's handpicked successor, BJ Habibie, came into power.
Together with the main organisation of political thugs, Pemuda Pancasila (Pancasila Youth) and the network of militant anti-Communist, anti-Christian and anti-Chinese Muslim clerics groomed by Prabowo Subianto, these various vigilante groups have increasingly been involved in fomenting so-called 'horizontal conflicts' in 'Inner Indonesia' as well as in discrediting anti-Jakarta independence movements in East Timor, West Papua and Acheh.
With East Timor now gone from the Indonesian military control with the advance of Australian-led Inter-FET troops on September 20, 1999, inter-religious and inter-ethnic conflicts have continued to profligerate in the archipelago, thereby depriving the successive regimes of Habibie and Abdurrahman Wahid to prioritize the trial of Suharto and the mismantling of the Suhartos' most lucrative economic interests in West Papua -- where they control nearly ten percent of PT Freeport Indonesia's shares -- and in Acheh, where they still benefit from a 20-years contract to ship Acheh's LNG to South Korea.
THE GLOBALISATION OF THE SUHARTO OLIGARCHY:
Suharto and his relatives have not waited long to globalize their wealth overseas, using the following means and tactics.
Awarding Cronies With Powers of Attorney To Promote Overseas Businesses for the Suharto Family:
Suharto as well as his middle son, Bambang Trihatmodjo, have issued powers of attorney to certain Indonesian businessmen to promote their business interests overseas. On April 7, 1968, Suharto signed a power of attorney to a Sino-Indonesian businessman, Jantje Lim Poo Hien, Suharto's neighbour who lives at 15, Cendana Street, in Central Jakarta to conduct business transactions for and in the name of Suharto personally. On the same day, Suharto ordered Jantje Lim to import old, converted landing ships (LSTs) for the Indonesian Navy, via a company, Greater Southeast Financial and Development Corporation Ltd., which was directed by Ibnu Hardjanto, a brother-in-law of Suharto. An amount of Nfl 12 million disappeared in this transaction, which caused a lot of commotion in the Indonesian and foreign press, but was instantly hushed up by the military.
Jantje Lim, Yani Haryanto, or Lim Haryanto Wijaya Sarwono, was able to build his own business empire, the Harita Group, with overlapping shares with the Suharto family in the sugar cane and logging industry. He was also the first private Indonesian businessman who was appointed as a 10% business partner for a foreign mining company, Rio Tinto (then, CRA) in a gold mining company in East Kalimantan, PT Kelian Equatorial Mining.
During the first two decades of Suharto's presidency, Yani Haryanto was also the main financier of Kent Bruce Crane (born in 1935), an ex-CIA operative-turned-businessman, whose Crane Group was involved in supplying small weapons for sale to the US and other governments. Crane also developed a close friendship with Suharto, and helped one of Suharto's sons to enroll in a college in Virginia and even helped that son (Bambang?) to decide on a course of study to his liking and helped to enroll his fiance as well. At one stage, US President Ronald Reagan intended to nominate Kent Crane as US ambassador in Jakarta. This nomination was withdrawn, after the US media publicized news stories about Crane's background.
Spending so much time in his partnership with Kent Crane and his own businesses, Jantje Lim and his family -- wife, Grace, son Soerono (Ronny) Haryanto and his wife Sofie Haryanto, younger son, Peter Haryanto, and a daughter -- bought several properties in the US, a.o. in Germantown, Virginia, and Houston, Texas, during the last years of Suharto's rule he was probably the only private businessman awarded a diplomatic passport by the Indonesian ambassador. Currently, Jantje Lim's official passport has been revoked by the Indonesian ambassador, Dr. Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Yakti, after Jantje Lim's son tried to escape from a traffic violation using his father's diplomatic passport.
Following his father's example, on February 13, 1992, Bambang Trihatmodjo and his wife, Halimah Agustina BT, signed a power of attorney for a Los Angeles-based Sino-Indonesian businessman, Han Moeljadi, to represent them as their "true and lawful attorney" and thereby to act on behalve of them for their use and benefit. Interestingly to note, this power of attorney of which a certified photocopy is in my file, was signed in the US Embassy in Jakarta, witnessed by Vice Consul of the United States of America, Landal L. Phillips.
Consequently, my research at the land title office of the County of Los Angeles has uncovered numerous properties under the name of Han Moeljadi, alone or together with other individuals who also have "Moeljadi" in their names.
Utilizing Certain Law Firms:
In the early 1970s, reports had emerged that the capital of Liem Sioe Liong and Suharto was administered by Rubin, Rubin, Weinberg and Dipaola (now: Rubin Rubin and Dipaola) Solicitors of 375 Park Avenue, New York City. The law firm premises were also the registerd offices of Greater Southeast Financial & Development Corporation Ltd., which had close ties with Waringin Finance Ltd. The latter was managed by two of Suharto's most trusted business operators, Jantje Lim and Liem Sioe Liong.
In later years, the Indonesian government -- and the Suharto family -- began to favour another law firm, namely White & Case LLP at 601 Thirteenth Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC, 20005-3807. This law firm has defended the Suharto regime and Suharto family interests since 1978. In 1983, for instance, according to my sources, they charged the Indonesian government US$ 3,090,711.49 worth of defense fees for the previous twelve months. Their main lawyer is Carolyn Lamm, aided by two assistants, Frank Panopoulos and Francis A. Vasquez, Jr.
Since 1994, this law firm has been defending a younger brother of the late Mrs. Tien Soeharto, Ibnu Hartomo, who was sued by a US businessman, Curtis Phaneuf, for selling fake Promissory Notes worth US$ 125 million. This fraud took place when Hartomo was an official at the National Security Council (Dewan Hankamnas) in Indonesia. The case is still being tabled in the Arizona district court.
As my investigation into the financial sources of the latest mega-projects have shown, many of these mega-projects which were awarded to companies owned by Suharto family members had listed White & Case LLP as their lawyers. E.g., Bambang's satelite communication company, PT Satelindo, Bambang's electric power station company, PT Jawa Power, Tutut's paper & pulp company, PT Tanjung Enim Lestari, and Hashim Djojohadikusumo & Titiek Prabowo's Paiton II power plant.
In the West Pacific hemisphere, another law firm has played an important role in promoting the Suharto family interests. This law firm, Wilkinson & Grist Solicitors and Notaries, is located at the Sixth Floor of the Prince Building on Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong. Using several other names but with the same address, such as Wilgrist Nominees Ltd, Wilvestor Ltd, Wilserve Ltd., and Nomitor Ltd., my documentary research have shown that this law firm handles three forest product trading companies of Bob Hasan in Hong Kong, namely Panelindo Co. Ltd., Plywood Indah (HK) Ltd., and Lakemba Ltd.
Complementing Wilkinson & Grist's role in Hong Kong is George Vasaris & Co.'s role in Port Vila, Vanuatu. This law firm helped the Suharto family to set up their Panca Holding Co. Ltd. in February 1985, and ten years later, according to my sources in Vanuatu, they were also involved in setting up Dragon Bank International Ltd. in the same tax haven cum money laundering centre.
Utilizing Local Businesspeople And Consultants With Access To Specific Markets:
While the Suharto family members and their Indonesian business partners were still operating out of Jakarta, many of their overseas ventures were trusted to certain local business people and consultants, who the needed access to the specific markets the overseas Suharto companies were tapping into.
For instance, the Suharto family oil marketing companies, Mindo and Permindo,which are based in Hong Kong -- with branches in Singapore and the US -- are managed by a British passport holder, Wong Chun Sum. He began his association with the Suharto family by helping them in the early 1980s to register a company in Vanuatu, called Panca Holdings Co. Ltd., which operated out of Hong Kong. This company had a monopoly over the import of raw material for Indonesia's plastic factories, which did not last long due to opposition from the Indonesian business community.
After Panca Holdings closed down, Wong Chun Sum's name is still listed on the board of Mindo and Permindo, which is still located at the old office of Panca Holdings in Room F on the Eighth Floor of Winner Building at 27 D'Aguilar Street in Hong Kong.
While Mindo and Permindo, which is partly owned by Bambang Trihatmodjo and his friends, still relay on Wong Chun Sum's connections, Tommy Suharto's Hong Kong-based oil marketing company, Perta Oil Marketing Ltd, has relied on the connections of an American oil consultant. Company records filed at the Hong Kong Registrar of Companies show that on March 5, 1985, George C. Benson, a retired military attache who continues to prefer to use his "Colonel" rank, was appointed as a director of the Hong Kong-based company.
This former head of the Military Training Advisory Group (MILTAG) and military attache at the US Embassy in Jakarta from 1957 to 1958was later hired by Ibnu Sutowo, then director of Pertamina, to act as a lobbyist for the Indonesian oil company in Washington, DC. He seems to be very well connected in the oil circles as well as in the military circles, and has befriended the former Indonesian general, Benny Murdani.
So, having him on the payroll of Perta Oil Marketing Ltd., which is another joint venture between Pertamina and the Suharto family (as is the case of Permindo), may have worked wonders both for the state oil company as well as the Suharto family.
Another trusted business consultant of the Suharto family is Edward Anwar. This Hong Kong-based Indonesian businessman runs four plywood marketing companies linked to Bob Hasan, namely Panelindo, Plywood Indah (HK) Ltd, Celandine International Ltd, which control Indonesian plywood exports to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Presumably, the Suhartos and Bob Hasan must be happy with Edward Anwar's performance, regardless of the fact that the Indonesian plywood exporters, who all had to pay a certain fee to have their product marketed by Plywood Indah (HK) Ltd. and Panelindo Co. Ltd., may have not received any benefit from this forced marketing arrangement.
Utilizing Cronies To Lobby the Clinton Administration:
The role of James Riady and his fellow Lippo Group executives, such as John Huang, to nurture favourable relations with the Clinton Administration is now well documenteed. During the 1992 presidential campaign, the Riady family, its associates, and executives at Riady companies "donated" a total of US# 1,050,000 to Clinton's campaign machinery, more than any other corporation, labour union, or Hollywood mogul had even donated to a presidential candidate in US history.
James' father, Mochtar Riady, the founder and chairman of the Lippo Group, is no stranger to the Suharto family. He was initially recruited by Liem Sioe Liong to develop the Salim Group's financial flagship, Bank Central Asia (BCA), in which he obtained 17.5% shares, together with Suharto's eldest children -- Ms. Rukmana and Mr. Harjojudanto -- who jointly owned 30% shares of BCA, which became the largest private bank in Indonesia before the 1996 financial crisis.
The Riadys were, however, not the only cronies who lobbied for Clinton's favours. It has recently been exposed that Tommy Winata, whose Artha Graha group is also closely associated with the Suharto family, has also provided illegal donations of US$ 200,000 to Clinton's 1997 presidential campaign.
Banking On The Support of Prominent Politicians To Avoid The Litigation Costs Of Overseas Anti-Corruption Lawsuits:
The joint ventures between companies linked to the Suharto oligarchy and US power and mining companies are strongly coloured by corrupt and unfair trading practices. This has been well-documented by Peter Waldman and Jay Solomon, recently. However, no US company has been taken to court being accused of violating the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. On the other hand, attempts by Adhi Satrya, the former director of the Indonesian State Electricity Company, PLN, to sue these joint ventures for overpricing their power generating costs have been blocked by Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid. The president suggested that the PLN chief solved his disagreement with the power producers through arbitration, not through litigation. In protest against President Wahid's intervention, which came after US President Bill Clinton had put pressure on Jakarta, Adhi Satrya resigned from his post on December 20, 1999.
Meanwhile, the US-based giant mining company, Freeport McMoRan, is also facing strong criticism for its poor human rights and environmental records in West Papua. In addition, the fact that most of the revenues from its Grasberg mine is flowing out of the country to its shareholders in the US and Japan, has also annoyed politicians in West Papua as well as in Jakarta. Hence, Wahid's Environment Minister, Sonny Keraf, former West Papua Governor, Freddy Numberi, who currently functions as Wahid's Minister for Administrative Reform, and former Research Minister, Sumitro Djojohadikusumo have called for a review of the company's contract of work. Dr Keraf even threatened to close the mine due to its environmental impact. Instantly, a chorus of protests has been raised by the US ambassador in Jakarta, as well as one of Freeport's shareholder, Dr Henry Kissinger, the powerful lobbyist for many top US companies. Matters have become worse for Freeport's critics, since President Wahid has asked Kissinger to become one of his foreign politics advisors, making him vulnerable for criticism of sacrificing national sovereignty for this MNC's business interests.
These two incidents show that to a certain degree, the stability of the Suharto family's business interests lies in their joint ventures with powerful US corporations, which can exert pressure on the Indonesian government through formal and informal channels. Similar cases may also be uncovered from Suharto family's joint ventures in other developed countries, such as Japan and Germany.
Abusing Suharto's International Position:
In his previous position as President and with it his high profile at the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), Suharto actively promoted the business interests of his extended family and friends. During his February 1997 state visit to Rangoon, Burma, for example, Suharto took along his eldest daughter Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana (Tutut) who took the opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of her company Citra Marga Nusaphala Persada with a Burmese state company to build Burma's first toll road.
Similarly, in early April 1995 Suharto was accompanied on a state visit to the Central Asian republics of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan by daughter Titiek Prabowo's business partner Hashim Djojohadikusumo. This trip also yielded more lucrative business deals for companies connected to the Suharto family.
Suharto's son-in-law, the then rising army star, Prabowo Subianto, was also able to increase his family fortunes due to his and his father-in-law's overseas connections. After carrying out unspecificied missions in Burma and Cambodia, the Cambodian government awarded the young general with a tin mining concession. Prabowo immediately surveyed the tin mine's potential, which showed promising. He then handed the tin mine concession over to the Indonesian state mining company, PT Timah, which was directed by Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas, a friend of Prabowo from his martial arts circles. Prabowo received a US$ 2 million compensation from the state tin mining company.
In the mean time, facilitated by the secret missions of her husband, Titiek Prabowo was able to obtain a large timber concession in Cambodia, which she managed through a joint venture with a young transportation tycoon in Indonesia, Jopie Widjaja. While the general's younger brother, Hashim Djojohadikusumo, was able to form a joint venture with a SLORC-linked company to build a one million ton cement factory in Burma.
Putting Business Eggs In As Many Overseas Baskets As Possible:
In the second decade of Suharto's power, Suharto relatives and cronies began to set up overseas-based companies, where they could invest the capital accumulated domestically. The largest of these companies is the First Pacific Group, which was set up in Hong Kong by Liem Sioe Liong in 1991 but listed in Liberia. The Suharto family is represented in this group by Sudwikatmono, Suharto's cousin and half-brother, who also represents the Suharto family interests in the Salim Group, the domestic business entreprise of Liem Sioe Liong and the Suharto family.
Later, after the First Pacific Group had evolved into an international conglomerate, with total assets of US$ 11.38 billion profits after taxation of US$ 427.5 million in 1998, the Suharto children themselves began to set up their overseas business empires in oil and gas marketing (Bambang & Tommy), as well as toll roads (Tutut).
The most successful among those overseas companies is the Singapore-based Osprey Maritime Ltd.This oil and gas shipping company is owned by Suharto's second son, Bambang Trihatmodjo and his partners, who enjoy a 20-years (1986-2006) contract to ship LNG from Mobil Oil's Arun field in Acheh to South Korea, and an 18-year (1999-2017) contract to ship LNG from the Bontang field in East Kalimantan to China, with the option to be extended for 10 years.
This company also has a joint venture with Mobil Oil and the Qatar Emirate to ship LNG from the Qatar gas fields to Turkey, as well as a series of LNG deliveries from Australia and Algeria to Boston, and last year began to serve LNG delivery contracts between Nigeria, Trinidad, Tobago, Puerto Rico and Boston, which has has led Osprey Maritime to become the 25% supplier of the world's LNG trade. In 1997, Bambang and his friends could be smiling at an operating profit of US$ 55.8 million.
While Osprey Maritime is probably the most lucrative 'money machine' of the Suharto kids, their in-laws and not doing bad as well. The most internationalized conglomerate of them is the Comexindo Group of Hashim Djojohadikusumo, younger brother of the sacked general Prabowo Subianto. His company focuses on counter-trade (barter) between commodities from Indonesia with commodities from second and third countries, with a network which in early 1998 had already spread from mainland Southeast Asia to the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.
Immediately after Suharto stepped down, in early June 1998, Hashim set up a new Comexindo branch in Geneva, Switzerland, funded with 2,8 million Swiss francs loans from the Geneva branch of Credit Suisse. According to my sources in Switzerland, this Geneva branch of Comexindo also prepared the Djojohadikusumo and Suharto businesses in the Middle East, managed out of their Jordan office in Amman. This Middle East office of Comexindo is currently managed by Hashim's elder brother, Prabowo Subianto, after he had been sacked from the army on August 24, 1998.
So, while many of the Suharto family businesses are currently been investigated and taken over by the Indonesian state or by other business interests, their overseas business empire does not seem to be negatively effected.
Banks in safe havens/money laundering centres:
In addition to those normally operating business enterprises, the Suhartos and their cronies have also opened their bank branches in 'safe havens' -- also known as money laundering centers -- in the Caribbean (Bermuda, Cayman Islands, BWI and the British Virgin Islands) and the South Pacific (Vanuatu, West Samoa, and Cook Islands), in addition to bank accounts in Geneva, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Singapore, Hong Kong, Osaka and numerous other places in the world.
Dragon Bank International (DBI) Ltd. in Port Villa, Vanuatu, is owned by Yayasan Harapan Kita, one of the yayasans which was headed by the late Mrs. Tien Suharto. This bank was allegedly involved in a scheme to launder billions of US dollars in mega-projects in Jakarta, Langkawi (Malaysia), and Guangzhou (China). Protests by foreign banks to which DBI owed millions of dollars forced the Indonesian authorities to close its Jakarta representative office on June 14, 1996. However, Ibnu Widoyo, DBI's business partner in Jakarta, was only briefly interrogated by the police who did not press any charges against this brother-in-law of the president.
Two years later, during the special session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in Jakarta in mid November 1998, where Habibie's presidency was confirmed, Dragon Bank's name resurfaced among the Jakarta finance community. This time its Singapore branch was alleged of dumping nearly two billion US dollars in the Jakarta market to stabilize the US dollar's exhange rate with the Indonesian rupiah.
Apart from this speculative business, Suharto family-linked financial enterprises have also stretched their tentacles to Cook Islands and Western Samoa, two well known tax haven and money laundering centres in the South Pacific.Ms. Rukmana and Mr. Harjojudanto's Bank Central Asia has opened a branch in Cook Islands (NZ), while Bambang Trihatmodjo registered his Brighton Ltd. in Western Samoa.
Three cronies of the Suharto family have also set opened their bank branches in Rorotonga, Cook Islands. These are the Lippo Bank branch and the BDNI branch of the Gadjah Tunggal Group, both located at the notorious European Pacific Centre on Tutakimoa Road, and Bank International Indonesia (BII) branch of the Sinar Mas Group on the Cook Corner.
International Banking Networks:
Foreign banks have also provided an international financial network for the Suharto family to finance their overseas businesses in several continents. One of them is MeesPierson NV, a Dutch investment bank which is part of the Fortis Group, a Dutch-Belgian banking and insurance group through its banking arm, Generale Bank.
Since the 1990s, its Amsterdam-based subsidiary, MeesPierson Trust BV has helped several Dutch-based Suharto family-linked companies to mobilize capital from the European capital market. As my documentary research in the Netherlands has shown, the companies assisted by MeesPierson include First Pacific Davies International BV; FPDSavills Nederland BV; Holland Pacific BV; First Pacific Land BV (= Asian Appetite BV): First Pacific Communications Holding BV; Indorayon International Finance BV; Tri Polyta Finance BV; Paiton Energy Funding BV; and Satelindo International Finance BV.
In addition, MeesPierson has also assisted capital mobilization for Suharto family-linked companies involved in oil palm plantations and palm oil production, such as PT Inti Indosawit Subur, PT Bakrie Sumatra Plantations and PT London Sumatra.
What is also interesting of this bank is its Hong Kong and Aotearoa (NZ) affiliates. As Generale Bank's 1995 annual report shows, one of its affiliates in Hong Kong is Lowlands Corporate Services Company Ltd. (address:
Unit B, 23-rd Floor, One Capital Place, 18 Luard Road, Hong Kong) with
Aloysius Lin as its manager.
Interestingly, my documentary research in Hong Kong shows that this company manages Figear Trading Ltd. This company is, in turn, one of the Hong Kong-based companies used by Tommy Suharto to manage his oil trading and energy businesses. Figear Trading's secretary was, until January 3, 1997, Lin Siu Chung. It is unclear whether this is the same person as the 'Aloysius Lin' mentioned in the Bank Generale 1995 annual report.
If this company is the same as the one used by Generale Bank to run part of its businesses in Hong Kong, then this Belgian bank (as it had not yet merged with its Dutch partners at that time) may have been involved in Tommy Suharto's oil trading businesses in Asia. Why? Because Figear Trading was used by Tommy Suharto to bring crude oil to Pertamina's Balikpapan refinery in East Kalimantan for refining and then either sold to Pertamina or traded out through Singapore to the highest bidder. Tommy's partner in this business was the young Malaysian businessman, Ananda Krishnan, a protege of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Next, MeesPierson's affiliate in Aotearoa is Firdaus Abdullah Siddik, the chairperson of the Indonesia-New Zealand Business Council. He is very well connected in Jakarta, where his Siddik Group has several joint ventures with Ret. General Bustanil Arifin, former head of Indonesia's rice procurement agency, BULOG, whose wife is related to the late Mrs. Tien Suharto. He has a booming property business in Aotearoa. In 1993, for instance, Siddik sold two alpine chalets for NZ$ 250,000 each in Queenstown to Suharto's middle daughter, Ms. Titiek Prabowo.
Another Dutch bank which has a network of Suharto family-linked companies with stretch from the Netherlands to Aotearoa is ING Bank NV. As my documentary research in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce shows, through its Nijkerk, Gelderland, branch, ING Bank NV handles the businesses of the Van Der Horst Group. This group is owned by Johannes Kotjo and Suharto's middle son, Bambang Trihatmodjo.
ING Bank is involved in AsiaPower Ltd., which was at least until 1998 still the power generating arm of Brierly Investment Ltd. Its subsidiary, ING Trust (Nederland) BV, is a a co-shareholder in AsiaPower Wayang Windu BV.
In the mean time, AsiaPower Ltd has a joint venture with Tommy Suharto in Mandala Nusantara Ltd. This company has in turn a Dutch subsidiary, Mandala Nusantara BV, in which AsiaPower Ltd is represented by Jason Hollingworth, who originates from Christchurch and lives now in Wellington. This 35-years old Kiwi is only three years older than Tommy Suharto, the co-director of Mandala Nusantara BV.
Both companies -- AsiaPower Wayang Windu and Mandala Nusantara -- were set up to enable AsiaPower Ltd to win the contract to build the Wayang Windu geo-thermal project in West Java, with Tommy Suharto as their partner and broker. This strategy worked well, because even after the financial crisis hit Indonesia, AsiaPower Ltd was still contracted to build the first phase -- 110 MegaWatt -- of the Wayang Windu geo-thermal power generating plant.
Hiding Suharto Family Interests in Multi-Layered and Multi-Continental Corporations:
The MeesPierson and ING Bank networks with Suharto family-linked companies in Aotearoa, are still relatively simple arrangements. During the last five years, much more complex arrangements have been developed by the business operators of the Suharto family, to hide their bosses business interests.
To investigate Tommy Suharto's golf course near the Ascot horse racing circuit, south of London, for instance, one has to peel several layers of companies and be able to identify the key links with Tommy.
First of all, Tommy Suharto and one of his business partners, Setiawan Djody, registered a company in the Bahamas, called V Power Corporation. That company was initially set up to buy into the US automotive industry, and with it Tommy bought 64% shares in Vector Automotive Corporation, which took over Chrysler's shares in the sports car company, Automobili Lamborghini SPa in Bologna, Italy. But that is a different story.
V Power Corporation, as it later turned out, has an affiliated company in Hong Kong, called Avant Ilototo International Ltd. In 1998, these two companies joined forces to set up a new company, Onslow Developments Ltd., registered in Gibraltar, the British colony on the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, which is the UK's one of many tax havens. V Power Corporation owns 1,500 ordinary shares and Avant Ilototo International, 500 ordinary shares.
This Gibraltar-registered company then set up a London-registered company, to operate the golf course at Ascot. That company is called Lazian Limited, which appointed two Indonesian, one Singaporean, and one British citizen as directors of the company. With the exception of the British person, a professional lawyer whose legal skills were needed to set up the company, the two Indonesian and one Singaporean directors were also listed as principals of the Gibraltar-based company.
From the names and the office addresses of the two Indonesian directors, I was instantly able to recognize one person, whose names have repeatedly been mentioned as a top executive of Tommy Suharto's Humpuss Group, and has been trusted to tackle some of Humpuss' overseas ventures into Burma and Iran.
The Kalimanis Group, a much larger network of overseas companies controlled by Suharto's gulfing buddy, Bob Hasan, has obviously much more layers. Its overseas network of companies, which focus on forest products -- plywood, paper, pulp -- and insurance for the forestry and oil sectors, has at its core a company called PT Nusa Ampera Bhakti (Nusamba).
On November 2, 1981, PT Nusamba was founded by Bob Hasan, Sigit Harjojudanto (Suharto's eldest son), and the managers of Suharto's three top yayasans (Dakab, Dharmais, and Supersemar), namely Arjo Darmoko, Hedijanto, and Zahid Husein. The three yayasan managers collectively controlled 80% shares, while Bob Hasan and Mr. Harjojudanto each controlled 10% shares.
On January 30, 1985, another company was set up by Bob Hasan, called PT Fendiwood Indah. Its three equal shareholders were PT Nusamba, Bob Hasan personally, and Achmad Bakrie. This company eventually changed its name into PT Fendi Indah, without changing its owners.
Then, during 7 years (1991-1997) as chair of the Indonesian Forestry Society (MPI), Bob Hasan also chaired all MPI-affiliates, which include the Association of Indonesian Forestry Producers (APHI), the Association of Indonesian Wood Panel Producers (Apkindo), the Association of Indonesian Furniture Producers (Asmindo), the Association of Indonesian Concessionaires (APHI) and the Indonesian Sawmillers Association (ISA). Using his power as the 'boss' of all these organizations, he set up a number of overseas companies, which he claimed to be the official marketing companies of Apkindo and Asmindo, so that all Indonesian plywood companies had to market their products through these 'official' marketing channels.
These companies include Fendi Wood Pte. Ltd. in Singapore, Plywood Indah (HK) Ltd. in Hong Kong, Albacette and Indocor in South Korea, Nippindo Co. Ltd. in Osaka Japan, and PT Kiani USA in the US. In addition, all the more than 100 Apkindo members were 'strongly encouraged' to use the ships of PT Karana Lines, a company co-owned by Bob Hasan and the Suharto family, and to insure their freight through PT Tugu Pratama Indonesia, an insurance company co-owned by the state oil company, Pertamina, and PT Nusamba.
However, were all those official marketing channels really owned by the association? That was certainly not the case. The Hong Kong Registrar of Companies' files show that Plywood Indah (HK) Ltd. is a fifty-fifty joint venture between PT Fendi Indah and Bob Hasan and, as mentioned before, is managed by Edward Anwar and the law firm, Wilkinson & Grist.Likewise, the Singaporean Registrar of Companies and Businesses show that Fendi Wood Pte. Ltd. is a fifty-fifty joint venture between two original owners of PT Fendi Indah, Bob Hasan and Achmad Bakrie.
Therefore, one can assume that all other so-called 'Apkindo companies' are basically co-owned by the Suharto family but managed for the family by Bob Hasan through PT Nusamba. This includes the Osaka-based Nippindo Co. Ltd., which was established in October 1988 as a joint venture between Kanmatsu Trading Company and Apkindo.
Since Bob Hasan's resigned in March 1998 following his appointment as Minister of Trade and Industry in Suharto's last and short-lived cabinet, and especially after Suharto's own downfall, MPI members have formed a task force to investigate Bob Hasan's corruption in the forestry sector. MPI Reformasi, a breakaway reform group of the old forestry association, has demanded that the timber tycoon return between two and eight billion US dollars of forestry fees he collected from 1991 to 1997.Unfortunately, nothing has been done by Suharto's successors, while Agus Miftah, the leader of the MPI Reformasi faction himself has now been coopted by the Suharto family, and has become the mediator for a number of new political parties financed by the Suharto family, as mentioned earlier.
In the meantime, the Nusamba-linked forestry companies of Bob Hasan, have continued their global expansion into the northern and southern hemispheres, with offices in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Brazil and Chile, operating under their domestic name, the Kalimanis Group, or the Timber Trade Federation.
These Nusamba-linked companies are not limited to the forestry sections, since Nusamba is also a shareholder in the oil marketing joint companies of the Suharto family in Hong Kong and Singapore, namely Tommy Suharto's Perta Oil Marketing Company and Bambang Trihatmodjo's Perminda Oil. Also, as mentioned before, Nusamba is a 35 % shareholder in the insurance company, PT Tugu Pratama Indonesia, with its subsidiaries in Hong Kong (Tugu Insurance Company (Pensions) Ltd. and TIMS System Solution Ltd), London (TRB (London) Ltd.), Singapore (Tugu Management Service), Vietnam and Manila.
Contrary to the anti-corruption demands of the reformasi movement in Indonesia, in February 1999 the new director of Pertamina renewed the monopoly of PT Tugu Pratama Indonesia over all oil industry insurance businesses in Indonesia.Which means that the Tugu Pratama Group can continue to invest Nusamba's billions overseas through its network.
ASEAN-ization of the Suharto Oligarchy:
Speaking about Tugu Pratama's subsidiaries in Singapore, Manila and Vietnam one touches on the main overseas business bastions of the Suharto family. Since the early years of the Suharto presidency, Suharto's main business partner, Liem Sioe Liong, has began to spread his global business tentacles from Singapore, in partnership with numerous Singaporean state companies. Liem's examples where quickly followed by Suharto family members and cronies from the Sino-Indonesian business community as well as fellow 'bureaucrat capitalists',such as relatives of former Research & Technology Minister Dr. B.J. Habibie and former Development Planning Minister Ginanjar Kartasasmita.
From Singapore as one of the world's fastest growing financial centres the Suharto oligarchy has spread its tentacles to Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma. In fact, the numerous Suharto family interests -- in addition to the need to increase the number of authoritarian regimes in ASEAN -- did certainly play a role in Suharto's strong support for Burma to be accepted into ASEAN.
But of all the ten ASEAN countries, the Suharto family has the strongest business links with the Singaporean and Malaysian political elites,but with a rapidly growing presence in the Philippines, where Suharto family companies are spread all over the country, from instant noodles to communication satellites, and from Mindanao to the marine cable between the Philippines and Guam. The most outstanding symbol of the Suharto business link with the Philippines is the Metro Manila Skyway Project, which influenced President Fidel Ramos' opposition to the first Asia Pacific Conference East Timor (APCET) in Manila in May 1994.
Overseas Links of the Suharto Family's Haj Pilgrimage Aircraft Leasing Business:
During his presidency, Suharto imposed a state monopoly over the haj pilgrimage to Mecca. All Indonesian pilgrims had to fly with the state airline, Garuda, and the entire tour was organized by the Department of Religion. It has been estimated by Muhamad Muas, a former member of the Indonesian Supreme Consultative Council, or DPA (Dewan Pertimbangan Agung ), that thereby the Suharto family had been able to add Rp 96 billion to their private fortune. So, he stated quite rightly, that it was time for Suharto to be made accountable to those funds.
That the Suhartos had enriched themselves from the Indonesian haj pilgrimage monopoly and that therefore the pilgrimage costs from Indonesia was much higher than Malaysia, is already wellknown in Indonesia. What is less wellknown is the fact that Mark Thatcher, the only son of former British Prime Minister, Mark Thatcher, had also attempted to get his fingers in the pie. After befriending Tommy Suharto in car racing circles, Mark Thatcher's company, Ameristar, became interested to provide charter aircraft to transport Indonesian Muslims on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. "About three to five million people go to Mecca, and Garuda does not have enough planes to bring them all," Ameristar's Jakarta representative said in an interview with a British newspaper in 1994. He added: "They are negotiating for Mark to supply planes to bring them all, but we haven't got the answer yet."
It is not clear to me, whether Mark Thatcher eventually got that contract. However, it has been well-documented, that a proportion of the haj planes were leased by Garuda from a consortium which includes companies owned by Tommy Suharto and his brother, Bambang Trihatmodjo, and Ireland-based company.So, it is not unlikely that Mark Thatcher and Tommy Suharto cooperated in leasing aircrafts to Garuda for the annual haj pilgrimage.
Ecstacy or XTC (MDMA = 3,4-methyle -endioxy -methamphetamine ), the infamous Dutch-made synthetic party-drug has found its way via Jakarta to the big cities of Australia, especially Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, while in Indonesia it has spread all the way to Bali, North Sumatra and Acheh. It has already caused deaths among its users in Sydney as well as in Jakarta, where favourite discos such as the Hard Rock Cafe and the Hai-Lai Discotheque in the Ancol entertainment resort were its major distribution centres.
Several persons have been taken to court and sentenced for illegally possessing and carrying this drug, such as Mohamad Said, a Garuda pilot who was sentenced to 15 months jail in Amsterdam for attempting to smuggle 8,000 ecstasy pills to Jakarta,Zarina, a popular Indonesian artist who was tried in Jakarta, and three Indonesian students, Nasar Aliando (then 25 years), Iwan Suparman (then 35 years), and Jose Rizal Paruntu (then 25 years), who were tried in Perth in December 1995 for illegally importing 450 ecstasy tablets.
The latest scapegoat is Lieutenant Agus Isrok, a Kopassus officer and son of former army chief, Gen. Subagyo HS, who now serves as President Abdurrahman Wahid's military adviser. However, my sources in Jakarta and several Western mediahave pointed their fingers at Suharto's eldest grandson, Ari Haryo Wibowo, also known as Ari Sigit, as the main person behind this illegal drug traffic in Indonesia.
Several indications underline that accusation. First of all, during the trial of the Perth trio, allegedly at the request of Ari Sigit, who had specially flown to Perth, they benefitted from the best defense council in town. Secondly, the fathers of two suspects in the Perth case were promoted afterwards. The father of Jose Rizal Paruntu, Brig. Gen A.P., then military attache in New York, received a one star promotion and has become the assistant of the Defense Minister for foreign affairs, since Suharto's last cabinet. The father of Nasar Aliando, R.H. Sumarno,who was then the customs chief in East Timor, received a promotion in the Directorate General of Customs.
Thirdly, Zarina, the so-called "ecstasy queen" who was apprehended with 20,000 ecstacy pills, also received a generous reduction in her sentence.
Fourthly, Col. A.B.R., a police officer who had received special drug-busting training from the FBI and had successfully busted an ecstasy ring in Jakarta last January and was also involved in Zarina's arrest, has received threatening phone calls from his superiors in the Police and Army.
Fifthly, the violent attack on the Doulos complex at Cipayung, West Java, on December 16, 1999 by Muslim vigilantes and soldiers loyal to Suharto's former armed forces commander, General Wiranto,may not be solely driven by religious sentiments but may also be seen as an attempt to cover up Indonesia's drug trafficking network. The reason underlining this argument is that the Doulos complex did not only host a Protestant seminary, but one of the main and largest narcotics rehabilitation center in Southeast Asia. In addition, the Doulos complex was only 2 Km away from the armed forces headquarters in Cilangkap, or a couple of hundred meters near a minor army barrack. Yet, none of the troops rushed to protect the seminary cum narcotics rehabiliation center, when it was attacked and burned down to the ground.
So, if it is indeed true that Ari Sigit or any other member of the Suharto family has been -- or, worse, still is -- involved in drug trafficking, this multi-million dollar illegal trade would certainly have contributed -- or, is still contributing -- substantially to their family coffers.
Using their Own Airline for Smuggling:
While in the previous case, the Indonesian state airline, Garuda, was used to smuggle ecstasy into the country, a private airline owned by the Suharto family has allegedly also been involved in smuggling precious goods in and out of Indonesia. It has been alleged by an email newservice of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, AJI (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen ) that in 1990 PT Bayu Indonesia Air (= Bayu Air) was involved in smuggling the Suharto family's gold bars to Swiss.
The plane involved in that flight was flown by an unnamed Martin Air pilot, but PT Bayu Air's president director, Soelarto Hadisoemarto himself took part in that operation. On its return flight to Indonesia, the plane carried a great number of precious goods which did not go through customs check in Jakarta. As a matter of fact, PT Bayu Air continued to smuggle precious goods in and out the country during the following five years, although the gold smuggling operation itself was only monitored in 1990.
Unlike several other airlines of the Suharto family (e.g. Sempati Air, Mandala and Gatari Air) this private airline has a lesser known history. According to one version, this cargo airline company was set up early in Suharto's presidency, to divert the Lockheed agency for Indonesia away from a rival airline. It created its first fortune through a presidential directive to the Director General of Air Communications ordering a 5 % levy on all air cargo flown in and out of Indonesia to this company, whose main owner is Suharto's eldest son, Sigit Harjojudanto.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, when Suharto began to distribute cattle from the Tapos ranch to improve cattle stock all over the country, PT Bayu Air was allowed to transport the cattle with Hercules planes of the Indonesian airforce (TNI/AU) by covering the airforce logo with the company's logo.
The company's own executive's version is rather different. According to its president director, Soelarto Hadisoemarto, he founded the company in 1975, encouraged by Dr. B.J. Habibie, then director of the Indonesian state aircraft factory, IPTN, to transport aircraft components from Europe. Later, Habibie wanted to integrate PT Bayu Air into the aircraft company, but the president rejected that idea. So, the air cargo company began to search for its own customers. He did not explain, though, how the company obtained its capital and its airplanes to transport the IPTN components from Europe when it was just founded in 1975. Nevertheless, PT Bayu Air obviously made good business, since for thirteen years the Dutch cigar afficianado became the head of the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA). In addition to directing his cargo airliner, the well-connected Hadisoemarto also directed PT Adveco (Aviation Development Corporation), an aircraft maintenance company plus several restaurants in Jakarta.
Selling the Suharto Overseas Properties 'Below the Table":
After the international uproar over the Suharto wealth, stirred by the May 24, 1999 of Time magazine, attempts to sell some of those properties were intensified by brokers hired by the family. One of the properties to go was the Lilybank Station in the Southern Alps of Aotearoa, which was sold by Tommy Suharto to a Singaporean businessman, L.Y.A. (Alan) Poh for NZ$ 1 (The Press , September 25, 1999; The Foreign Post , Manila, September 30-October 6, 1999).
This seems to be a ridiculous prize, since according to New Zealand company records, Tommy had paid NZ$ 2.2 million in 1992 for the property, and it was earlier on put for sale for NZ$ 10 million (Sydney Morning Herald , January 13, 1999).
So, as sometimes happen in business practice, a property can be sold to a close friend or relative for a ridiculously low price, simply to avoid the original (and, real) owner from having to pay certain obligations, or to prevent the property from being seized by a second party. Therefore, if a NZ$ 10 million worth hunting resort is sold for NZ$ 1 to another businessman, it is most likely that the original owner -- in this case, Tommy Suharto -- is indeed still the owner. Or, he had to sell his Southern Alps resort to Alan Poh, simply to pay other debts to the Singaporean businessman.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
By misusing his power and employing all those 'carrot and stick' tactics, Suharto has been able to amass an immense personal fortune for himself, his family, and his friends, all at the expense of the Indonesian people. TIME Magazine, in its May 24, 1999 cover story, estimated that the wealth of Suharto's nuclear family amounts to US$ 15 billion. Personally I believe that that estimate is very much on the conservative side. Also, that estimate is limited to what Suharto and his six children own, while in fact the children's conglomerates do include their wives, husbands, and in-laws. On top of that, the wealth of Suharto's extended family is also deeply intertwined with the wealth of a significant number of Sino-Indonesian business families as well as another significant number of 'bureucat capitalist' families.
So, if we include the entire oligarchy into the picture and considering that TIME's estimate of the overseas wealth was mainly limited to their overseas properties and bank accounts, and thereby excluding the corporate assets of their overseas business groups, such as Sudwikatmono's First Pacific Group, Bambang Trihatmodjo's Osprey Maritime tanker fleet, and Ms. Rukmana's toll roads, the illgotten wealth of the entire oligarchy could easily amount to US$ 100 billion.
Now, what can be done in Aotearoa?
First of all, more public discussions need to take place in this country, especially among political and economic decision-makers, to educate them about the way the Suharto oligarchy had made their billions and are constantly making more from their accumulated wealth and productive assets.
Secondly, simultaneously a thorough investigation need to be carried out by the current government into the ways Suharto family members had been able to purchase such huge tracts of land, such as Lilybank Lodge, and form joint ventures with Aotearoa-based companies, such as AsiaPower, without having any prior experience in power generation. This investigation might reveal several irregularities which involved Aotearoan officials and companies as well, and might be needed to prevent future and further abuse of the Aotearoan system.
Thirdly, a thorough investigation need to be carried out in the Cook Islands to uncover the amount of Indonesian illgotten wealth stacked in those banks. The first priority in this case is to freeze the accounts at the Cook Islands branch of Bank Central Asia (BCA), to enable the Aotearoan and Cook Islands authorities investigate possible accounts of the Suharto family in that branch.
Fourthly, the newly elected government need to decide, which level of the Suharto oligarchy is the most unwelcome in this country. Should it be limited to immediate members of the Suharto family, such as Tommy Suharto and Titiek Prabowo, whom seem to prefer the Southern Alps over the noice and pollution of the big cities? Should it include Suharto's extended family, such as Sudwikatmono, a co-shareholder of the First Pacific Group, which subsidiary, FPD Savills, has offices in Wellington and Auckland? Or, Bustanil Arifin, a further member of Suharto's extended family, whose wife is related to the late Mrs. Tien Suharto, be made unwelcome in his luxurious mansion in Queenstown?
Or, should other shareholders of Indonesian conglomerates close to the Suharto family, such as Liem Sioe Liong, who is indirectly involved in Brierly Investment Ltd. (BIL) through the Singapore and Malaysian-based Camerlin syndicate, also be made unwelcome in Aotearoa? And what about other top executives of Indonesian conglomerates which have benefitted from their close association with the Suharto family, such as Arif Budiman, who owns some properties in Auckland, or Loka Manyan Prawiro, or Firdaus Sidik?
This brings us to the basic question in determining the Aotearoan government's criteria in selecting who is welcome and who is not to invest in Aotearoa: is it the blood links with Suharto, or is it the degree of collusion in Suharto's corruption? An individual such as Ret. General Bustanil Arifin, has quite far blood relations with Suharto, but his role in appropriating the country's wealth for the Suharto family, especially in transforming the Berdikari Group's ownership from state to private, was very decisive. Or, an individual such as Liem Sioe Liong, who has no blood links whatsoever with Suharto, has had a fifty years business history with the retired general since the days that he was the army commander of Central Java in the 1950s.
Fifthly, negotiations need to be initiated between the Attorney Generals of both countries -- Aotearoa and Indonesia -- to synchronize the interrogations of Suharto by the Indonesian A.G. and the investigations into the Suharto family's wealth by the Aotearoan A.G. of Wellington and his colleague in Raratonga.
In all those steps, anti-corruption organisations from both countries need to be involved, since they have been the ones that have kept the concerns alive, such as CAFCA in Aotearoa and Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) in Indonesia. Also, these inter-NGO links are needed to explore the best ways to return the illgotten wealth of the Indonesian people to their rightful owners, avoiding another "Berdikari Group-style" of state-to-private conversions of wealth to be repeated.
Those are some reflections of a perplexed academic, who has made it his calling and academic exercise to identify the processes through which the Indonesian people's wealth becoming privatized by a small group of individuals linked to Indonesia's second president, Suharto. Hopefully, this documentation and concluding ideas would not make you more perplexed that I am myself, and may lead to some concrete steps to be taken by this government and its comrade-in-arms within the NGO community.
'Kia ora, tatou'
Newcastle, March 23, 2000.
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