Not Enough Evidence to Sack Ministers, Says President
SINGAPORE ~ President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has no immediate plans to sack two ministers linked to a corruption scandal unless further evidence emerges against them, his spokesman said on Tuesday.
“The president has summoned these two… but it all depends on whether there is enough evidence and whether or not these accusations will turn into a legal case,” Dino Patti Djalal told a forum in Singapore.
“So long as these things remain as just verbal accusations, the president is going to be quite careful about it.”
Development Planning Minister Paskah Suzetta and Forestry Minister Malem Sambat Kaban have been accused by another lawmaker of having taken money embezzled from the central bank in 2004.
Both deny any wrongdoing, and they have not been charged with a crime.
“If you were to fire every minister every time there is an accusation being leveled, then he (the president) [would] have to fire one every week, and he’s definitely not prepared to do that,” Djalal said.
Djalal was speaking at a forum of diplomats, academics and the media organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies – Asia.
Yudhoyono has made fighting corruption a key plank of his leadership since his election in 2004, and Djalal said there had been some successes.
However, watchdog Transparency International has ranked Indonesia 143rd on its global corruption Index, alongside Russia, Togo and Gambia.