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Thursday, 16 August, 2001, 06:03 GMT 07:03 UK
Megawati says 'no' to kickbacks
President Megawati Sukarnopurti
Megawati gets tough with the family over corruption
Breaking with the tradition of past Indonesian leaders, President Megawati Sukarnopurti has ordered her family not to take kickbacks that might threaten her position.

"I have gathered all my close relatives and have asked them to promise not to allow any opportunity for corruption, collusion and nepotism," President Megawati said.

If later it is found that any of the children have benefited from any project, or anything else, it will be the minister who will bear the blame.

Taufik Kiemas
She also ordered her cabinet ministers and senior government officials to reveal their wealth to state auditors.

In her first state of the nation speech since taking office, President Megawati also appealed to international creditors to give her government "room to breathe" as it tries to revive the economy.

The creditors have pressed the government to end corruption in the underpaid bureaucracy where "facilitating payments" are considered part and parcel of winning government contracts.

End corruption

Addressing the national parliament on the eve of the country's 56th anniversary of independence, President Megawati on Thursday said corruption must be eliminated to save the country's faltering democratisation.

Former Indonesian President Suharto
The Suharto era defined corruption within government
President Megawati told her ministers they will be held responsible if they are found to have handed out unlawful benefits to her relatives, her husband Taufik Kiemas is quoted as saying in the Jakarta Post.

"If later it is found that any of the children have benefited from any project, or anything else, it will be the minister who will bear the blame," he said.

Mr Kiemas has been the subject of media allegations of questionable business deals which he has strongly denied and refuted by publishing a list of his financial assets.

Economic tradition

Allegations of corruption have helped bring down all of Indonesia's presidents except one, President Megawati's father, a socialist and was overthrown in a CIA backed coup.

Nepotism between business and government reached its peak during the autocratic rule of President Suharto who was forced from office three years ago.

President Megawati's predecessor Abdurrahman Wahid was also embroiled in two corruption scandals but was cleared by the attorney general and has denied any wrongdoing.

See also:

13 Aug 01 | Business
Indonesia expects IMF talks 'soon'
09 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia's new cabinet
26 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia's sacked leader quits country
26 Jul 01 | Business
Rebuilding Indonesia's economy
23 Jul 01 | Business
Indonesia economic crisis point
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