Andrey Krushinsky: The troubles of the Indonesian Family

The headline news of today's issue of the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post: 39-eyar-old son of Indonesia’s former President Suharto, who has been hiding from police over a year, was nabbed.

The recent photographs depict Hutomo Mandala Putra (Tommy Suharto, to put it short) having a gloomy expression on his face. Where is his coquettish moustache and the self-complacent smile of the Crown prince? Tommy had the reputation of a playboy and of a cunning financial bigwig in the country. Indonesian President Suharto had six other children and he had very big hopes towards Tommy – the youngest among the six children. But when Suharto, who was ruling the country for 32 years, had to leave due to the mess, which seized the country after the Asian financial crisis, then it was “Tommy,” who had to deal with the role of a scapegoat.

The Indonesian community charges the Family of the national property in the sum of $45 billion, but Tommy is the only one so far, who has been on trial. It was nothing much really – the land swindle, which cost the state treasury $11 million.

Tommy was sentenced to 18 months in prison and it would be over today, but… When the police officers came to take him to a correctional facility, Tommy claimed, he had an important thing to do: to visit President Abdurrahman Wahid (the visit was planned before). The police checked on that, found out that Tommy had lied, got back to him, but he was off and away.

Indonesia’s Supreme Court rehabilitated Tommy a month ago on the fact of land swindling, having categorized those eleven million dollars as “a serious court mistake.” Why not yielding to the authorities in this situation? His lawyer stated that backdated: Tommy came to the police office himself. However, the chief of the Jakarta police denied that, saying Tommy was arrested, having a status of a suspect.

When Tommy was hiding for a year, one thing happened, which he would have to account for: judge Kartasasmita was shot under the mysterious circumstances. This is the judge, who used to sentence Tommy for that jail period of 18 months.

Tommy’s persecutor, Abdurrahman Wahid now has an unpleasant prefix added to his rank – “ex.” Wahid was impeached while Tommy was in hiding (for corruption). Megawati Sukarnoputri, who has taken Wahid’s place, is rather happy about Tommy’s capture. The South China Morning Post wrote, Tommy’s capture raised the level of confidence to the law and order in Indonesia on the part of the West, from which this country is waiting for investments so ardently. And the Family is gripped with anxiety.

Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru Beijing

Reuters photo: Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra listens to Jakarta chief Inspector-General Sofjan Jacoeb during a news conference in Jakarta on November 28, 2001