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Suharto's huge land holding in Java

Agence France Presse - November 25, 1998

Jakarta – Former president Suharto and his relatives own 174,490 hectares (430,990 acres) of land in West Java province, according to an official inquiry reported Wednesday.

The head of the National Land Office (BPN) in West Java, Masri Asyik, said most of the land was registered under the names of Suharto's late wife, children and companies, the Kompas daily reported.

Less than five hectares was registered under Suharto's name. Part of it has been transformed by Suharto's children into real estate and the rest was used for a housing complex for war veterans. Some 108,858 hectares (268,879 acres) of land in nine districts was held under individual names, while the rest was registered under some 236 Suharto-linked company in 14 districts.

Suharto was forced to resign in May, following mounting public protests. There is now growing pressure on the authorities to take stronger action against Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for 32 years. There have been some calls for him to be placed under house arrest.

A preliminary investigation by prosecuters in West Java has tracked 53,000 hectares of land under the name of Suharto's eldest daughter, Siti "Tutut" Hardiyanti Rukmana. It was to be developed into residential areas in four West Java districts.

The national land agency is working with the attorney general's office on a nationwide probe into the wealth of Suharto and his family. Last week the BPN provincial office in Sumatra's Jambi province had traced 122.4 billion rupiah (15.5 million dollars) of land and assets owned by the former first family.

A report on November 11 also said the BPN had located 687 hectares of Suharto land in East Java, while a second report on November 17 said the Suharto family owned thousands of hectares in remote Irian Jaya province.

The government has claimed to have unearthed only 21 billion rupiah (2.6 million dollars) of Suharto's money in 72 banks across the country, while the probe into his accounts abroad, which the former president says were non-existent, is still underway.

President B.J. Habibie has been pressured to speed up the probe into Suharto's wealth after Suharto's name was included in a draft decree on eradicating corruption. Suharto's name, whose alleged fortune has been estimated at four billion dollars by Forbes magazine, was added to the draft decree by the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) at the end of a special session on Friday.