Subject: SMH: Wiranto denies food funds assisted Timor militias

November 1, 2001 Sydney Morning Herald

Wiranto denies food funds assisted Timor militias

The former armed forces commander, General Wiranto, said yesterday that some of $1.9million from an Indonesian government food agency was used to fund the ballot in East Timor in 1999.

But during questioning at the Attorney-General's office he denied the money was given to him to fund the pro-Jakarta militia that ran a terror campaign in the former Indonesian province.

General Wiranto told journalists that every cent of the money from Bulog, the agency that channels food aid, was properly accounted for and its spending was approved by the former president, Dr B.J. Habibie.

The Attorney-General's office is investigating a claim by the former Bulog chief, Rahardi Ramelan, that about $10million was transferred from the agency when Dr Habibie was in power in 1998 and 1999.

He said $7.5million of the money was passed to Akbar Tanjung, the then cabinet secretary and head of the former ruling party, Golkar.

He also alleged that some of the money was lent to a private company controlled by Tommy Soeharto, the fugitive son of former president Soeharto.

General Wiranto told journalists that the money allocated to the Defence Ministry was partly used to fund a Jakarta-appointed Peace and Stability Commission in East Timor that was established before the United Nations-run ballot.

Lindsay Murdoch

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