Suharto Family a No Show at Supersemar Assets Hearing

Former Indonesian dictator Suharto waves to journalists after a meeting with former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in Jakarta on Feb. 22, 2006. (AFP Photo/Dewira)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 12:23 PM December 23, 2015
Category : News, Politics, Featured

Jakarta. Lawyers representing the family of former strongman Suharto failed to appear before the South Jakarta District Court on Wednesday, despite receiving a summons to discuss how the infamous clan is planning to repay Rp. 4.4 trillion ($321 million) in state funds allegedly misappropriated during the former president's three-decade rule.

The hearing has, as a result, been postponed to Jan. 6.

Indonesia's Supreme Court on June 8 repealed a 1976 government regulation issued by Suharto ordering all state-owned banks to set aside 2.5 percent of their profits for the now-defunct Supersemar Foundation, which is controlled by the late ruler's family.

The court ruled that the funds accumulated during Supersemar's operation — a total sum of $420 million and Rp 185 billion — were largely embezzled and never used for their stated purpose, which was to boost the country's education system.

It was discovered that a portion of the funds were funneled to private companies belonging to Suharto's family members and his cronies. Many, such as Bank Duta and Sempati Air, are long defunct.

The goal of Wednesday's hearing was merely to discuss when and how the Suharto estate intends to pay back the sum.

The family's defense lawyers instead sent a letter to the court, citing a conflicting schedule to explain their absence, according to district court spokesman Made Sutrisna.

The sole judge presiding the case, Haswandi, decided to postpone the hearing instead of immediately ordering a seizure of Supersemar's assets.

“The court would have shown a very different attitude if not for the official notification [from the lawyers],” Made told on Wednesday.

“But if the defense keeps postponing [the hearing] or if it shows any indication of trying to stall [the family's] payments to the state, we will seize the foundation's assets by force.”

The Attorney General's Office earlier said it has already drawn up a list of targeted assets should the court order a seizure.

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