Fri, 01 Dec 2000

Court rejects ex-banker's pleas, continues trial

JAKARTA (JP): The South Jakarta District Court rejected on Thursday the pleas advanced by the lawyers for former Bank Aspac director Hendrawan Haryono and decided to continue with the trial.

Hendrawan has been accused of allegedly misallocating Rp 583.4 billion (US$63.4 million) in Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support funds.

Presiding judge Muchtar Ritonga told the hearing that the arguments advanced by Hendrawan's defense lawyers had entered the substance of the case.

He said although the defendant had yet to be proven guilty, the prosecutors had to be able to prove their indictments in the next hearing.

"That's why the court has decided to continue the trial to hear the testimonies of witnesses and the defendant," Ritonga said. He ordered the prosecutors to present witnesses at the next hearing.

Earlier, the prosecutors asked the district court to reject the arguments advanced by Hendrawan's lawyers, saying that they were not supported by strong legal grounds.

Chief prosecutor Soetantyo said the lawyers' counterstatement ran contrary to Article 156 of the Criminal Code on procedures for filing objections to a court's authority to try a criminal case.

"The prosecution has accurately and thoroughly compiled the indictment in accordance with the law.

"Therefore, the South Jakarta District Court has the jurisdiction to hear the defendant's case based on the prosecutors' indictment," Soetantyo said on Monday.

Hendrawan, along with then Bank Aspac president Setiawan Harjono, was arrested in April this year for his alleged wrongdoing.

Setiawan, who will be tried separately, has yet to appear in court as he is receiving treatment at Mitra Keluarga Hospital in East Jakarta.

In his counterstatement to the indictment, lawyer L.M.M. Samosir said the prosecutors had failed to produce sufficient evidence to justify charging the defendant.

Samosir further said the prosecutors should not have charged the defendant with the 1971 Corruption Law, but with the 1992 Banking Law instead.

He argued that liquidity support fund cases involving another 47 banks had been settled through the offices of the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA).

"We are unable to understand why only (our client) Hendrawan of PT Bank Aspac is being tried on corruption charges," Samosir said, while questioning the prosecutors' motives.

At a preliminary hearing, prosecutor Soetantyo said that Hendrawan, 46, had violated Article 1 of Law No. 3/1971 on corruption, which carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

Soetantyo said that the defendant, along with Setiawan, had abused his authority to enrich himself or others at the expense of the state between February 1998 and February 1999.

The prosecutor also accused Hendrawan of violating Article 49 of Law No.7/1992 on banking. This Article carries a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment.

Soetantyo said that Bank Aspac received Rp 583.4 billion from Bank Indonesia in December 1997 as part of the government's liquidity support scheme.

However, after receiving the funds from the central bank, Hendrawan reportedly allocated a part of the money for foreign exchange trading and to finance the operations of some corporations affiliated with Bank Aspac.

Presiding judge Muchtar Ritonga adjourned the hearing until next Monday to hear witnesses' testimonies. (01)