Wed, 30 Apr 2003

Four-year jail sought for two bankers

JAKARTA: Prosecutors sought four-year-jail terms for two former officials from the now-defunct Bank Ficorinvest on Tuesday in connection with the alleged misappropriation of Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support Funds (BLBI).

Prosecutor Bambang Riyadi Lani told the South Jakarta District Court that Supari Dhirdjoprawiro, the former president director of the bank, and S. Soemeri, the bank's director, were guilty of abusing their authority by allowing the disbursement of Rp 319 billion (about US$37.1 million) of the funds in 1998 to speculate on foreign exchange and to lend it to private clients.

"We ask the court to sentence the defendants to four years in jail," he told the hearing, which was presided over by Judge Zoeber Djajadi.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Both defendants remained calm as the recommendation was read.

The central bank disbursed Rp 144.5 trillion in liquidity support to 48 commercial banks in a bid to overcome possible bankruptcy during the economic crisis in 1998 and 1999.

However, 95 percent of the funds were used in a corrupt manner for personal gain by the bank owners, according to the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK).--JP