BI scandal implicates two BPK officials

21Aug08

Irawaty Wardany The Jakarta Posi/ Jakarta

Anthony Zeidra Abidin, a suspect in a major bribery scandal involving Rp 100 billion in Bank Indonesia funds, on Wednesday claimed he only received Rp 500 million of the money. Some Rp 31.5 billion of the funds were allegedly distributed to members of the House of Representatives Commission IX, which oversaw financial affairs, in 2003, when they were deliberating a bill on the central bank. In his testimony to the Corruption Court, Anthony revealed the alleged roles of current deputy Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) chief Abdullah Zaini and member Baharuddin Aritonang in the case.

Anthony said the two, who were members of Commission IX, tried to “extort” the money from him after he received it. “My friends at the BPK thought I received all the money (Rp 31.5 billion) in this case, so they tried to extort it from me,” Anthony testified.  He said Abdullah and Baharuddin demanded Rp 500 million each, but he rejected their requests. “If I had received such an amount of money, why should I eat it myself?” Anthony said.

Hamka Yandhu, another suspect in the case, previously claimed Anthony had ordered him to disburse the money to other Commission IX members. Anthony denied the claim. “I witnessed the handover of part of the money from Rusli (Simanjuntak) and Asnar (Ashar) at Anthonys house in Gandaria (Central Jakarta) on July 2, 2003,” Hamka said in his testimony before the same court. Rusli and Asnar are senior BI officials who allegedly handed over some Rp 31.5 billion of the disputed funds to Hamka and Anthony.

When asked by the panel of judges whether all 52 mem-bers of Commission IX received the money, Hamka said he was not sure, adding he only gave the money to representatives of the factions in the commission.
He said he gave them between Rp 250 million and Rp 1 billion each. Ali Asad, a former legislator from the United Development Party (PPP), admitted to receiving Rp 100 million from Hamka and using it to finance his political campaign.

Testifying at the Corruption Court, Ali said Hamka told him the money was a campaign contribution. “I assumed the money was a contribution for my campaign, because it was given at a time when people began talking about the 2004 legislative campaign,” he said. Ali said he spent all of the money, paid in three installments, to purchase banners and flags for his campaign.

Amroe Al Mutazim, a former legislator from the National Awakening Party (PKB), also admitted to receiving Rp 300 million from Hamka, who told him the money was for “familiarizing” the amended BI law. “At the time, Hamka texted me to come to his office, where he handed over the money,” Amroe said. He said he asked Hamka what the money was for and he answered, “It is legitimate money for the familiarization of the BI law amendment.” “I thought the money was legitimate, but after I found out it was illegal, I handed it over to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) when I was summoned,” Amroe said.

Graft suspect Rusli Simanjuntak also testified it was common for the central bank to give money to House members without any receipts. When asked by judge Hendra Yospin about the practice, Rusli said, “Yes. I heard from BI retirees that such practices have been going on since the 70s.”

Sumber: Jakarta Post, 21-08-2008

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