Gus Dur orders probe of 3 ministers

The unnamed ministers will remain suspended during the corruption investigation by the Attorney-General.

PRESIDENT Abdurrahman Wahid has ordered the Attorney-General to investigate three ministers in his Cabinet for alleged corruption in a move Cabinet sources said is aimed at showing the world that Jakarta is pressing ahead with efforts to “clean up” the government.

Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman told The Sunday Times yesterday that President Abdurrahman, who had made the remarks while in Washington where he is on a private visit, was intent on signalling to the international community that he would crack down on errant government officials tainted with corrupt practices.

“I think he wants to tell everyone that he is genuinely against corruption, and is doing something to stem the tide in the government,” he said.

“He is trying his best to win the confidence of the business community in particular so that they will be comfortable enough to put their money back into Indonesia.”

Mr Marzuki confirmed that he had received instructions for the probe but declined to name the ministers concerned. Media reports here said they were alleged to have been implicated in the Bank Bali scandal.

A son of one of the ministers was also said to have exploited his father’s official position for personal gain.

Mr Abdurrahman too did not reveal the trio except to warn that “if they are proven guilty, they will be dismissed”, local media said.

He added that during the investigation, the ministers would be suspended.

The President’s disclosure on the corruption probe came at a meeting between the US-Indonesia Association and US-Asean Business Council in Washington, the Indonesian Observer reported.

When Gus Dur came to power last month, he made it clear that he intended to run a clean government. At the swearing-in of his ministers, he gave them this piece of advice: “Live modestly, honestly and know what will be acceptable to society.

“If any of you should be brought to court by the Attorney-General, then it is better for you to step down now.”

While in Washington, he also said that he would pardon Mr Suharto after a trial on charges of corruption, but added that the pardon would not apply to the rest of his family.

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