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TIME: What are some of the difficulties that you have encountered?
GHALIB: For instance, to find proof from the yayasan through these two legal and financial audits--it's not easy to find that. Where's the money transferred? We use time, maybe three to four months for the financial audit. For the Mobnas, it's also the same. We have to find out--the minister, we asked the ex-minister of finance, and so on--we have to ask him ... It's not easy. From there we have to find out again, we see the book [he uses his hands to show the enormous amount of documents], so we need a lot of time to find out, but not more than the Sidang Umum. We have to finish before then.

TIME: Then even if you haven't investigated Bulog, Pertamina, then you won't do it at all?
GHALIB: Yes, of course if we need them, we can find out. But so far, with these two cases I think we can do something if we want to increase to the others--Bulog and so on, and so on.

TIME: But what about the people who say that you are giving the former President a lot of time to move the money into the name of his lawyers or other proxies?
GHALIB: No, no, we haven't given a lot of time for it, so far it has been according to the law. We can't go against the law. Law enforcement against law--we can't do like that. It must be according to the law.

TIME: If it's true that there are billions of dollars in Austria, don't you think you're giving them a lot of time to move it to another country?
GHALIB: We have to find out. We can prove, you know. We can see that there is the moving of money, we can find out. We can, no problem.

TIME: You're not worried.
GHALIB: No, because of the bank. Here, for instance, we can find out about a corrupter, you know, he sent money everywhere. The proof starts here. We call it a financial audit. We can find it. So, we need time, you know. Not easy to get it because most of them are very, very clever to make loss to the state.

TIME: But don't you think it would make it easier if you froze the assets first, so you don't have a moving target?
GHALIB: No. My target is not more than the Sidang Umum. I have to finish it all. We are limited by the law because before someone is [proven] a corrupter, for instance, we can't accept his account in the bank. But if he's already been increased to the status of tersangka, accused, we can find it, we can stop it. That's our law here.

TIME: Then you can freeze?
GHALIB: Yes, then we can freeze that.

TIME: Which law says that you can't request the foreign government to ...
GHALIB: That's our Indonesian law. Decree No. 3, 1971.

TIME: That's here. But they can do it overseas. The Swiss are waiting to do it.
SOEHANDJONO: But the case is in Indonesian court, not in a foreign country's court. [Laughs] So it should be based on the procedures here.
GHALIB: I met already with the ambassador of Switzerland, because he came here. I asked him, "Sir, can you assist us with Mr. Suharto's account abroad?" And he said, "Yes, we can help you if Mr. Suharto is already in the status of tersangka [accused]. So, as soon as he is accused, they can open his account.

TIME: But at this stage you can't tell us whether you're planning to charge Suharto to make him a tersangka or not?
GHALIB: Of course, I told you already, it depends on the proof. We have plans to send to the court all the corruption findings. But it's based on the proof. That's our problem. For instance, Mr. Tommy Suharto: he's already been proven. We agree completely that we have proof to send him, so we send him. It's easier because we have found this. It's very easy to get the proof. But this case, it's not very easy--that's our problem.

TIME: On the financial auditing you mentioned before, the seven yayasan, you say they've got--your audit of Suharto's seven main social foundations disclosed that they have about 5.4 trillion rupiah. So, our question is, if we look at their sources of revenue since they began in 1978, like Dakab, Supersemar, Dharmais, it's 2.5% of the profits of state banks. In the case of Dharmais, it's a percentage of the salaries of civil servants. These foundations--three of them--had a share in Nusamba. Nusamba had a share in Freeport. How is it possible that over 20 years there's only five and a half trillion? Isn't the real figure much higher than that?
GHALIB: Your estimate is the same as mine. There may be more, but how could we find it? We are not experts. Maybe you have experts. Can you give me experts?

TIME: So, 5.4 trillion is your current estimate of what they have. What is your estimate of how much revenue they received over the past 21 years?
GHALIB: Ha, ha, ha ... that's very good, that's very good. Actually, I can understand your thinking, very good, actually. You must be an Attorney General, a very good one. Thank you very much, that's very good.

TIME: Soedjono had an estimate for how much they have received. You must have seen Sudjono's report.
GHALIB: He told you? Soedjono told you?

TIME: So after investigating the foundations for three months, you don't have an estimate of how much revenue they received over the past 21 years?
GHALIB: You know why? We tried to find out where this money comes from. Because it comes from the cuts of salary, from the banks, and so on. You can see every month. So, we can see, according to the books, where the money is come from. It's based on that, not on my calculations.

TIME: Well, according to the books, how much revenue have they received over the past 21 years?
GHALIB: I told you, 5.4 trillion rupiah.

TIME: That's the total? Do you believe that?
GHALIB: That's the financial audit. This depends on the final audit. Believe it or not, we can estimate because it's according to the financial audit.
SOEHANDJONO: And we didn't conduct the financial audit. It was done by others, the auditors. So, they made up the amount of the money, not us. We just received the amount from them, based on the investigation done by them.

TIME: But can I just ask you, do you believe that those books that have been audited for you, by BPKP, do you believe that the books are accurate?
SOEHANDJONO: We tried to find very old books. If you worked in that area for several months, you would have gotten a headache and your eyes would not be in a good condition because the books are very, very old, from '74, '75, '76, up to '98.

TIME: Have you obtained the former President's tax records?

TIME: And the children, have you also gotten their tax records?
GHALIB: For the children, not yet, not yet.

TIME: Have you got the bank records for the children?
GHALIB: Banking records, no. For Mr. Suharto, yes.
SOEHANDJONO: We have asked about 90 banks in Indonesia and from some of the banks, we can find some of Mr. Suharto's money. But that has already been announced by the Attorney General.

TIME: When Mr. Suharto says he has $3 million and however many hectares, is that all accurate according to your investigation?
GHALIB: We examined 72 banks, and we found 23 million is Mr. Suharto's money, his private money.

TIME: That's the total? 23 million?
GHALIB: Billion, yes.
SOEHANDJONO: It's almost 24, in about five banks. That's all the money that he has in the country.

TIME: What was Suharto's presidential salary?
GHALIB: I don't know exactly because I never asked.
SUJATA: I asked President Suharto where his money come from when he went abroad? He got pocket money, he brought and sent to the bank for more than 30 years.
SOEHANDJONO: He never used the money. It was always prepared for when he went somewhere--for food and lodging.

TIME: Do you accept that explanation, that he's got almost 24 billion rupiah? Where did it come from?
SOEHANDJONO: From pension.

TIME: How much is the pension?
SOEHANDJONO: I don't know. And also from the--he has one or two houses that he has contracted to other people, so it also comes from that.

TIME: You've been investigating Suharto since December on suspicion of corruption, but you don't know what his monthly salary was? Is this a serious investigation?
GHALIB: Very serious, you know, very serious, but this is just preliminary.

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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