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Monday, 8 April, 2002, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK
Indonesian court calls ex-president
Akbar Tandjung at court
Mr Tandjung was controversially released on Friday
Former Indonesian president B J Habibie is to be summoned to give evidence in the high-profile corruption trial of parliamentary speaker Akbar Tandjung.

The former president will appear in the next session on 15 April, the court announced on Monday.

Former Indonesian president B J Habibie, pictured September 1999
Mr Habibie is not a suspect in the case
The five-judge panel also threw out defence objections that the case against Mr Tandjung was unclear, and said the trial would continue.

Mr Tandjung is accused of helping divert around $4m of state funds to his own party for its campaign in the last general election in 1999.

He was state secretary at the time, under then President Habibie, who was in office from May 1998 to October 1999. Mr Habibie, who now lives in Germany, has been questioned by police but is not a suspect in the corruption allegations.

Mr Tandjung, who also leads the country's second largest political party Golkar, is one of the highest officials to face trial. Correspondents say it is a major test of President Megawati Sukarnoputri's pledge to crack down on corruption.

Tandjung freed

Mr Tandjung is accused of directly receiving millions of dollars from the state food agency Bulog. He has said he handed all the money to a charity to distribute food to the poor, but state prosecutors say no food was ever handed out.

If convicted, Mr Tandjung could face a 20-year jail term and Golkar could be disqualified from contesting the next election or even disbanded altogether. However, many analysts believe this is unlikely.

Mr Tandjung, 56, was released on Friday after almost a month in detention, following assurances from his wife that he would attend court. He declined to comment as he arrived at court in Jakarta on Monday.

Two other officials on trial with him remain in detention, prompting criticism that Mr Tandjung was allowed special treatment.

"It is discriminative since the other suspects did not receive the same treatment," noted lawyer Frans Hendra Winarta told the Jakarta Post newspaper.

The other defendants are Dadang Sukandar, 53, the head of the charity, and Winfried Simatupang, 63, the contractor supposed to deliver the food.

Mr Simatupang has returned all of the $4m - after earlier maintaining he had distributed the food as instructed.

See also:

05 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian speaker released
25 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Trial of Indonesian speaker opens
24 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Akbar Tandjung
20 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Tommy Suharto murder trial opens
19 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
Top military attend Timor trial
24 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
China pledges $400m to Indonesia
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