Thu, 10 Jul 2003

Five suspects questioned in Mandiri embezzlement case

Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Police have named five people as suspects in the alleged misappropriation of negotiable certificates of deposit (NCDs) worth Rp 50 billion (US$6 million) at the country's largest state bank Mandiri.

One of the suspects, who allegedly misappropriated the deposit belonging to the Association of Indonesian Forest Concession Holders (APHI), was a former senior official of the bank.

"We have been grilled some of them as suspects in the case, but one of them passed away in April," Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Prasetyo said on Wednesday.

Prasetyo said the suspects were Gatot Cahyanto, a former head of Bank Mandiri's Panglima Polim branch, South Jakarta, Rahardian Tarekat, director of PT Jasa Ganda Barta (JGB), the late Yulianus Indrayana, JGB's deputy director, Ismael Syaefuddin, JGB's marketing officer, and Kuncoro Haryomukti a JGB staff member who was still at large.

Gatot, the main suspect in the case, is currently in Cipinang penitentiary as he is also standing trial at the South Jakarta District Court in a similar case, the officer said.

He said police had detained the other three suspects for two weeks, but their detention was suspended recently.

According to Prasetyo, the suspects violated Banking Law No. 10, 1998, article 49 on prudential banking principles.

"If convicted, they could face between three and eight years in prison, or a fine of between Rp 5 billion and Rp 100 billion," said Prasetyo.

To date, Prasetyo said, police had interrogated 10 witnesses over the case.

The misappropriation was reported to the police by APHI chairman Adiwarsita Adinegoro on Feb. 18, 2003.

Adiwarsita said earlier that his association had purchased 10 NCDs valued at Rp 50 billion at the Mandiri branch in Panglima Polim, South Jakarta in February. However, when APHI wished to withdraw the money, the bank said that the NCDs had been used as collateral by JGB.

The National Police Central Forensic Laboratory reportedly said that there had been a forgery of the signatures of APHI chairman and treasurer Zain Mansyur in the documents submitted by JGB to the bank.

Adiwarsita blasted the bank for its negligence in verifying the documents with APHI as the rightful owner of the NCDs.

Adiwarsita said the money was needed by his association to finance operational costs.

APHI has 366 forest concession holders as members.

Mandiri's president director ECW, Neloe said earlier that the case would not affect the state-owned bank which is selling its shares at the Jakarta Stock Exchange.