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TIME: What about the case involving Tommy?
GHALIB: Tommy was already sent to the court, you know. He is the son of his father. If you ask a father to choose, himself or his son, better the father. But we sent him to the court.

TIME: They're very close.
GHALIB: Yes, very, very close. So, if we prove that this is our law, he must be there. Now with Mr. Suharto we are looking for more proof, whether it's there or not. If not full enough, it's a problem. We have to make it secure that we have already found this, to increase the status from a preliminary to an investigation.

TIME: We understand that the former First Family has indicated that it might like to pay the money on the Mobnas project, the outstanding money. If they do that, won't that finish off the prosecution case?
GHALIB: In this case, there are at least two opinions. One is that even already paid but still can be, but the other said you can't because paid already. But it depends on the jury. But so far we use that: even if paid already, he still can be charged because not before, but after this, that's our law now. I told him already ... even if you've paid, still process.

TIME: So in the case of Tommy, that won't necessarily mean that the charges are dropped.
GHALIB: It's still, still going on. It depends on the court.

TIME: Even if there's no loss to the state.
GHALIB: Yes, because we are in the process now.

TIME: The seven yayasan. Last year, I think it was December, it was reported that these had been given by Suharto to the government or the state. Did he hand the assets over, or just the operations?
SOEHANDJONO: The operation is run by the government. The assets belong the foundations. The money doesn't belong to Suharto. The money always belongs to the foundations.

TIME: Suharto is the chairman of these foundations. So if the money is still in the foundations, then it's still controlled by Suharto, right?
GHALIB: No, no, no, no. It's controlled by the Coordinating Minister for the Eradication of Poverty. There's a decree on that... It was placed with the Coordinating Minister Pak Haryono Suyono.

TIME: Why haven't the assets been handed over with the control of the yayasan?
SOEHANDJONO: Because their purpose is social activity. So they continue the social activities, but are run by the government.

TIME: But the money, the fund, is still under the foundation? And Suharto is still the chairman of the foundation? But if someone wants to spend foundation money, they still have to come to Suharto to sign the check?
GHALIB: No, it's Pak Haryono Suyono. I think Pak Haryono is already running the foundation.

TIME: But we also heard, actually from someone in your own office, that still, before they spend the money, they still have to get the signature of the former President.
GHALIB: I don't know exactly, but according to Mr. Haryono, he's already running it. Because I asked him whether you already run, yes, everything's O.K. Nobody can use the money without permission from this minister.

TIME: Regarding the yayasan, you say that you have found that some of the money has been misused, but you cannot press charges because it has to be state money. If you know that the yayasan's money is coming from profits of state banks, or from the salaries of civil servants, that's state money being misused. How much evidence do you need before you will charge Suharto?
GHALIB: We only need two, at least two. Number one is that we already prove the money is state money, lost there and come to somebody there, whether it is personal, for his family or for someone else. That's number one. The second one is whether it's against the law.

TIME: So, is it not against the law to take money from civil servants, state companies, state banks, and lend it to friends and their children for their businesses?
GHALIB: No, no, no. Because, if we can prove that money is direct from the state, the state loses the money, and it is against the law. I can give you one example. Here in Indonesia, the scholarship uses the state's money for going abroad. But when you come back from abroad and the money isn't used according to plan, this can be corruption. The money is lost already, but it's not against the law. So we can't say.

TIME: So you have to have both elements?
GHALIB: Must be both.

TIME: Are you getting close to laying formal charges against Suharto?
GHALIB: According to the TAP MPR [special parliamentary decree] we have to. Before the Sidang Umum [special house session], it must be finished, that's my target.

TIME: Which is December?
GHALIB: No, no, October, November.

TIME: Both Suharto and the children?
GHALIB: Just Suharto.

TIME: Are you also investigating the other children?
GHALIB: If we find the proof.

TIME: Are you looking for proof?
GHALIB: We are looking, and we are going to find out whether there is data or not. If you have data, for instance if you have Mr. Suharto's account in the United States or wherever, give me the number. Tomorrow I'll catch a flight there, because I already have the letter from Mr. Suharto. I'm very happy to get the account number.

TIME: But what if it's under someone else's name? Are you looking for that? Are you looking for assets held under another name?
GHALIB: Another name? Yes, of course, I would go there. He told us if you get the name--or the other name--as soon as you can prove it, come. We have already investigated from here. So, it depends on the proof.

TIME: Why aren't you investigating allegations of corruption in relation to the National Logistics Agency or the state oil company Pertamina?
GHALIB: Maybe the reason is, if we want to investigate all of them, because he was the President, so, of course, many of them are connected, including us.

PAGE 1  |  2  |  3


May 24, 1999

Suharto Inc.: All in the Family
Indonesian officials say they can't find evidence of ill-gotten wealth. But a four-month TIME investigation reveals that the former President and his children now have assets worth $15 billion, including fancy homes, jewelry, fine art and private jets

A Talent for Business
Cash and assets acquired by the family over 30 years

"I Never Asked"
The Attorney General has few answers

A man on a mission to track the loot

Money Trail
A top sleuth lays out a battle plan

Jeffrey Winters on stealing big

"Not One Cent Abroad"
Suharto's lawyers respond

Flawed Legacy
Author Pramoedya Ananta Toer says that Suharto's sins run much deeper than greed

This edition's table of contents | TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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