Jakarta. The family of former Indonesian president Suharto will likely dismiss a court order to pay back to the state Rp. 4.4 trillion ($321 million) in funds misappropriated during the late strongman's three-decade rule, a lawyer for the family says.
The South Jakarta District Court has summoned members of the Suharto family to appear on Wednesday to discuss when and how the estate intends to pay back the sum. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the prosecution in a civil case against the now-defunct Supersemar Foundation on June 8.
The court repealed a 1976 government regulation issued by the former president ordering all state-owned banks to set aside 2.5 percent of their profits for the foundation. The court ruled that the funds accumulated since the foundation was established — a total sum of $420 million and Rp 185 billion — were largely embezzled and never used for their stated purpose: education.
Denny Kailimang, one of the senior lawyers for the family, confirmed that his team would appear at Wednesday's hearing but added they would be there to argue that the family had no legal obligation in the matter.
“According to the Supreme Court ruling it is the Supersemar Foundation which has to pay compensation. The court has summoned Suharto's family but we will not accept the obligation to compensate,” he said as quoted by Rakyat Merdeka.
Denny said lawyers for the foundation would also attend Wednesday's hearing.
District court spokesman Made Sutrisna said the hearing would be used to decide which assets could be seized by the state, unless the defense proposed a plan and a timeline for paying back the stolen funds.
Separately, the Attorney General's Office's chief of asset recovery unit, Loeke Larasati, said her office was studying which assets could be seized.
“We have been tracing the money flow since the verdict was issued. But we need to investigate further to make sure who owns such assets,” she said as quoted by Detik.com.
According to the Supreme Court ruling, some of the funds embezzled from the foundation were funneled to private firms belonging to Suharto family members and cronies. Many of the companies, such as Bank Duta and Sempati Air, are long defunct.