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Indonesia authorizes probe of president’s money handling

SHARE Indonesia authorizes probe of president’s money handling

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia's parliament agreed Monday to launch a formal investigation of two financial scandals involving President Aburrahman Wahid.

One scandal, known as Bulogate, involves the disappearance of $4 million from the state logistics agency, Bulog. Wahid's personal masseur is alleged to have absconded with the money.

The second affair centers around a $2 million personal donation from Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah to Wahid. Lawmakers say the president failed to fully disclose the donation.

"To end the blasphemy against the president, we agree to launch an investigation," Heri Achmadi, leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, said.

Under Indonesian law, if the parliament can prove Wahid acted illegally, it can call a special session of the nation's highest legislative body to begin impeachment proceedings.

The 60-year-old president, weakened by a series of strokes, has reshuffled his administration and enhanced Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri's role after a threatened impeachment this month. Opponents say Wahid's coalition government has failed to fix a deep economic crisis or end bloody sectarian and separatist violence in several troubled provinces.

Also Monday, a Jakarta judge rejected a motion to dismiss a corruption case against Indonesia's central bank governor. Judge Rusman Dani Ahmad ruled against jailed Bank of Indonesia Gov. Sjahril Sabirin, who contended his detention was illegal.

Sabirin was arrested in June, after he was named a suspect in a banking and political scandal which rocked financial markets and led to the downfall of former President B.J. Habibie last year. Sabirin was accused of facilitating the transfer of funds from the defunct Bank Bali to Habibie's political supporters.