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Thursday, March 29, 2001, updated at 09:46(GMT+8)
World  

Wahid Addresses Parliament, Denies Corruption

Appearing before a hostile parliament on Wednesday, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid defiantly denied allegations of corruption and questioned the constitutionality of moves to remove him from office.

The nearly blind Muslim cleric apologized for not cooperating with an investigation conducted by parliament, which he once likened to a "kindergarten." He sat passively in front of the legislators as the address his response to a Feb. 1 censure memorandum was read aloud by Justice Minister Baharudin Lopa.

"I am sorry that I cannot accept the contents of this memorandum because it is not constitutional," Wahid said in the statement.

"I, myself, have not taken one cent," he said. He also warned that the ongoing political crisis was hurting reforms and chances of economic recovery.

Wahid is implicated in the illegal transfer of $4 million from the state food agency by a former business associate. He is also accused of failing to declare a $2 million aid donation from Sultan Hasanal Bolkiah, the ruler of neighboring oil-rich Brunei.

The 500-member legislature will debate whether to accept Wahid's statement, and will likely vote on the matter within several weeks. If lawmakers reject it, they can issue a second censure. This would oblige Wahid to appear before them again. If lawmakers choose to reject his next statement, they can open impeachment proceedings.

Many lawmakers said Wahid's explanation of his alleged role the corruption scandals would not deter them from pursuing impeachment proceedings.







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Appearing before a hostile parliament on Wednesday, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid defiantly denied allegations of corruption and questioned the constitutionality of moves to remove him from office.

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