SP/Novi Setuningsih & Markus Junianto Sihaloho
Corruption Eradication Commission chairman Abraham Samad finally signed an order to launch an investigation into the Rp 6.7 trillion ($696 million) Bank Century bailout scandal.
This comes after almost three weeks of naming former Bank Indonesia deputy governors Budi Mulya and Siti Chalimah Fadjriah as suspects in the disbursement of the bailout.
“I have signed the sprindik [probe] for Century on Friday morning,” Abraham said in Jakarta on Friday.
With the signing of the sprindik, Abraham called on the people to stop making wild assertions regarding the case.
Previously, speculation had grown regarding the absence of the investigation. Some people accused the agency known as the KPK of forcing the case by naming the two former deputy governors as suspects due to the absence of the probe.
An official sprindik typically indicates that at least one suspect will be named in a criminal graft case. If no suspect us named, it often means that there is a lack of evidence.
“There’s no problem. So, let’s stop any unfounded speculations,” Abraham said.
Abraham added that the antigraft body has not yet named any new suspects in the case. He also explained that it took him a long time to sign the sprindik as he was busy with other duties.
Meanwhile, all but one political party at the House of Representatives has agreed to extend the tenure of the House supervisory team investigating corruption in the Bank Century bailout, a lawmaker and vocal critic of the bailout said on Thursday.
“Eight factions have agreed that the House supervisory team be extended,” said Bambang Soesatyo of Golkar Party.
The decision, he said, will be read aloud during a House plenary session at the end of the year.
Bambang, one of the initiators of the House investigation into the 2008 bailout, said the supervisory team would not yet push the House to exercise its “right of opinion.”
He said the team will first wait for the results of an official investigation of the case by the KPK.
“Whenever the KPK officials express that there are indications of [Vice President] Boediono’s involvement in the Century case, a case which the KPK said involved corruption, the House will automatically use its right to express an opinion,” he said.
Under the right of opinion, the House can express its opinion on a government policy or any extraordinary incident at the domestic or international level. The right can also be used to express an opinion that the president or vice president is no longer fit for his or her position due to suspected violation of law, including corruption.
Bambang also said the House will continue to supervise the case’s legal process to see whether there are any indications of involvement by other high-ranking officials, including then-Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Bank Indonesia Governor Darmin Nasution and Marsilam Simanjuntak, along with a number of directors at the Deposit Insurance Agency (LPS).
Bambang also aired suspicion that the bailout of Bank Century in 2008 was not to save the country’s economy, but rather to safeguard personal interests, including the funds of large deposit holders at the bank.
Bambang said the move, by Boediono as Bank Indonesia governor, arguably fit the definition of corruption.