Tommy Suharto ‘too Ill’ for Questioning in Corruption Case

JAKARTA ~ State prosecutors said this week that the youngest son of former president Suharto was too ill to be questioned as a suspect in a multimillion-dollar graft case and needed a week to rest.

Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra has been named a suspect in a corruption case embroiling the clove monopoly board that he chaired until its 1998 dissolution. He is accused of taking government funds that should have gone to farmers.

Muhammad Salim, director of investigations at the Attorney General’s Office, said that Tommy would not be present for his scheduled questioning after receiving a letter from his lawyers requesting a one-week postponement.

“We have received a letter signed by Tommy’s lawyer, O.C. Kaligis, saying that he is unable to attend because he is not well,” he told reporters on Tuesday, adding that attached to the letter was a doctor’s statement ordering Tommy to rest for a week.

“Investigators are now rescheduling the questioning,” he added.

Kaligis said his client would “undergo a head examination performed by an Australian doctor.”

“We received the invitation (to attend the questioning). Last night I signed a letter addressed to the attorney general informing them that my client will not be able to attend because he has a doctor’s appointment,” he said.

The lawyer, who could not immediately be contacted, told the state-run news agency Antara separately that the unspecified illness had afflicted Tommy since he was in jail.

Tommy was freed from prison in October 2006 after serving just a third of a 15-year sentence for ordering the murder of a Supreme Court judge who had convicted him of corruption in another case.

He reportedly suffered from an eye and head tumor in 2005. The eye tumor was apparently operated on but the head tumor required ongoing treatment.

Tommy is the only blood relative of Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for more than three decades, to be jailed for a criminal act.

Ageing Suharto stepped down in 1998 amid mass protests and is accused of amassing billions of dollars corruptly for his family and cronies, but has never faced trial, also due to alleged ill health.

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