The National Police have cleared Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan from the Rp 6.7 trillion ($695 million) Bank Century bailout scandal, announcing that the minister’s company did not receive bailout money from the bank.
Brig. Gen. Arief Sulistyanto, the National Police’s head of the special crimes division, said on Sunday that Ancora Land, which belongs to Gita, actually disbursed money instead of receiving it.
“We can say that Pak Gita is one of the victims in the case,” he said.
Gita’s name surfaced in the scandal after Hendrawan Pratikno, a member of House of Representatives’ supervisory team investigating corruption in the Bank Century bailout, questioned Ancora Land’s motive in acquiring 55 percent ownership of Graha Nusa Utama.
The company was then connected to the Bank Century scandal because its owner, Totok Kuncoro, was a business partner of Robert Tantular. Totok was sentenced to eight years in prison while Robert got nine years for stealing bailout money and consumers’ savings, and laundering them in a number of businesses.
“Why did Ancora buy GNU when it was used to launder stolen money?” said Hendrawan, who comes from the opposition Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Arief, however, said that after examining the case, the police concluded that Ancora acquired GNU in an attempt to control 22 hectares of land owned by GNU and the Fatmawati Foundation in South Jakarta. The land was made into a golf course.
“After analyzing PT GNU’s bank accounts, we found that there are transfers to Fatmawati Foundation’s account in Bank Niaga. But that was for buying the land and has nothing to do with the Century case,” Arief said.
Arief added that the police could not freeze the accounts because they were used for land-purchase transactions, and not criminal activities or in connection with the Century scandal.
He also said that the police had no plan to summon Gita as a witness, let alone as a suspect.
“He is clean, and has nothing to do with the case,” Arief said.
While Gita is cleared from the police’s investigation, it is not immediately known if the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which is also investigating the case, also examined Gita.
Last week, KPK chairman Abraham Samad signed an order to launch a full investigation into the Bank Century bailout scandal.
This comes nearly three weeks after naming former Bank Indonesia deputy governors Budi Mulya and Siti Chalimah Fadjriah as suspects in the bailout case.
Meanwhile, all but one political party at the House of Representatives has agreed to extend the tenure of the House supervisory team investigating allegations of corruption in the Bank Century bailout.
Gita and Ancora have repeatedly denied they had any connection with the scandal.
“We disbursed money. So, how we could be accused of receiving money,” Pungki Sampurno, executive director of Ancora International told Merdeka.Com last Friday.
He said that the land purchase transaction was purely a business deal.
The Century case has taken the national spotlight once again recently as the House of Representatives prepares to initiate a legislative maneuver that could pave the way for impeachment proceedings against the vice president.
However, efforts to oust Vice President Boediono have hit another snag.
Only two lawmakers on a key House of Representatives committee have urged the legislature to undertake the maneuver in question.