[INDONESIA-NEWS] JKTP - Wowor Speaks Up on Bruneigate

From: indonesia-p@indopubs.com
Date: Thu Mar 29 2001 - 17:11:24 EST


X-URL: http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailnational.asp?fileid=20010330.A03&irec=2

   Back to Home Page National News March 30, 2001
   
   Wowor speaks up on Bruneigate
   
   JAKARTA (JP): A businessman who acted as a mediator in the matter of
   the US$2 million donation to Indonesia made by the sultan of Brunei,
   amplified President Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid's explanation of the
   ensuing scandal on Thursday, saying the donation came from a member of
   the Brunei royal family and was earmarked as his personal contribution
   to humanitarian causes in Indonesia.
   
   Ario Wowor, who does business in Brunei and is close to the royal
   family, agreed to act as an intermediary between the Bruneian donor
   and the President in channeling the donation.
   
   "The member of the royal family made known his intention of offering
   the funds as personal alms for the needy in Indonesia and I brought
   the offer to the notice of the President. The latter accepted it but
   appointed Haj Masnuh, a functionary in Nahdlatul Ulama (the largest
   Muslim organization), to manage it.
   
   "Following the meeting with the President, I went back to Brunei to
   convey his positive response to the member of the royal family who
   later sent the funds to Masnuh's bank account on Jan. 15, 2000," he
   told a press conference.
   
   The President said in his reply to the House of Representatives' first
   memorandum of censure on Wednesday that Wowor played a dominant role
   in channeling the donation and that later the funds were obtained by
   Masnuh.
   
   Wowor further said he regretted that the funds had became a source of
   political conflict between the President and the House.
   
   "Both the government and the House should thank the Brunei royal
   family for the donation, instead of bickering over the origin of the
   funds and making it a political commodity," he asserted.
   
   He said he felt very uneasy and embarrassed upon witnessing the
   House's recent investigation into the scandal.
   
   "The President and the House should stop the dispute because it has
   tarnished the country's image overseas," he said.
   
   What's important was to check whether the funds were used in line with
   the donor's original intention, he added.
   
   "The House should have public accountants audit the use of the
   donation so as to ensure that it is all accounted for," he said.
   
   Meanwhile, Faisal Riza Rachmat, chairman of the Forum for Action and
   Studies on Democracy (Fosad), attacked certain parties in the House
   who wanted to topple the President using the Brunei scandal and the Rp
   35 billion (US$2.5 million) Bulog financial scam.
   
   "The two financial scandals are part of a political ploy launched by
   certain Muslim legislators to topple the President, whom they consider
   to have stymied their sectarian interests," he said.
   
   According to Faizal, it was very unfair to blame Gus Dur for the
   continued political instability, sectarian conflicts and economic
   crisis assailing the country.
   
   "The political instability, the collapse of the rupiah and the recent
   sectarian conflicts have much to do with the continued conflict among
   the members of the political elite," he said.
   
   He also said that if the nation was truly committed to fighting all
   out against corruption, all major corruptors from the former New Order
   era and in the present bureaucracy should be brought to court.
   
   "It is very strange that the House has been highly enthusiastic about
   these two financial scandals while it does nothing about the
   corruption cases in the state-owned oil company Pertamina, the
   National Logistics Agency (Bulog) and other state-owned companies and
   state agencies that have resulted in losses of hundreds of trillions
   of rupiah to the state," he said.
   
   He called on the members of the political elite to end the conflicts
   and join forces to rebuild the nation and to win back international
   confidence in Indonesia.
   
   "The situation will continue to worsen and the people will be unable
   to survive the economic hardship if the conflicts among the
   politicians continue," he said. (rms)
   

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