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Jun '99

Ex-attorneys urge legal action against Ghalib

Former attorneys on Thursday called for tougher measures to be taken against Andi M. Ghalib, who stepped aside on Monday as attorney general for the duration of a graft probe, expressing concern over the tarnished image of the country’s highest law-enforcement agency.

Soegih Arto, who served as attorney general in the mid 1960s, and five other former attorneys — M. Salim, Ridwan Sani, M.H. Silaban, Andi Hamzah and Hadibroto — told a news conference at the Attorney General’s Office that the corruption allegations leveled against Ghalib by the independent Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) must be settled fully through “the due process of law”.

“As a top law-enforcement agency, the Attorney General’s Office must be run by clean and highly competent people,” Soegih told reporters after a meeting with Deputy Attorney General Ismudjoko.

The former attorneys added to the chorus of sharp criticism against President B.J. Habibie’s decision early this week to assign the coordinating minister for political and security affairs, Feisal Tanjung, to temporarily take over Ghalib’s duties.

“The law on public prosecution stipulates that if the attorney general isunable to execute his duties, the deputy attorney general shall take over until the appointment of a new attorney general,” Soegih said.

Student leaders, legal experts and numerous civic groups had earlier cried foul on the President’s decision. These criticisms appeared to have prompted the government to change its stance on Wednesday.

Minister of Justice/State Secretary Muladi announced after a meeting withHabibie on Wednesday evening that he had proposed that Deputy Attorney General Ismudjoko take on the role of attorney general in a caretaker capacity.

Muladi said a presidential decree on the appointment was expected in one or two days.

The former public attorneys said that Ghalib’s case could not be resolvedthrough what the government called a “clarification”.

They were referring to the government’s announcement on Monday that Ghalib’s bank accounts would be audited by independent accounting firm Arthur Anderson Co. and Prasetio Utomo Consult.

Legal and banking experts have said that the move is useless as Ghalib has not been named a suspect for corruption.

ICW revealed early this month details of bank transactions showing that Ghalib and his wife had accepted over the last few months the equivalent ofUS$1.6 million from businesspeople under investigation by his office for banking violations.

Ghalib however said the transfers were for the Indonesian Wrestling Association (PGSI), which he chaired, but lawyers and the ICW have pointed out the transfers were made to his personal account.

In a related development, the Association of Indonesian Accountants (IAI)urged the government on Thursday to clarify the objective of an audit of Ghalib’s bank accounts.

“The audit must be aimed at answering the question of whether Ghalib has been really taking bribes or not … otherwise it will be only a waste of time, money and energy,” IAI chairman Zaenal Soedjais said in a press statement.

Zaenal also said that access to Ghalib’s bank accounts would only be given by the central bank governor if police name Ghalib a suspect in theirinvestigations.

Zaenal said that the investigation team should include experienced fraud auditors with the necessary skills to lead an audit of fraud.

He added that only the State Comptroller Agency (BPKP) had developed a fraud auditing technique in the country.

Later on Thursday evening, Bank Indonesia Deputy Governor Subarjo Joyosumarto dismissed rumors that details of Ghalib’s accounts in Bank Lippo were leaked by officials of the central bank.

However, he admitted that two Bank Indonesia officials were assigned to the bank in May to verify the data of deposits in banks liquidated in November 1997 that were transferred to Bank Lippo.

Sumber : (byg/emf/rei) The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

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