Mon, 08 Nov 1999

Golkar says it repaid Rp 15b to Manimaren

JAKARTA (JP): The Golkar Party said on Sunday it repaid Rp 15 billion (US$2.2 million) in loans it received from M. Manimaren, chairman of PT Ungaran Sari Garment and one of the party's deputy treasurers, in a transaction linked to the Bank Bali scandal.

"We repaid the loans a long time ago and we have evidence to prove it, even in court," Golkar chairman Akbar Tandjung said.

Akbar, who is also speaker of the House of Representatives, said his party borrowed the money from Manimaren on June 2 to finance its political activities, particularly in the run up to the June 7 general election.

Akbar said Golkar understood the funds were from Manimaren's business and not from a commission paid by Bank Bali to PT Era Giat Prima.

"Golkar therefore is not in any way involved in the Bank Bali scandal," he said, referring to the high-profile affair in which the bank transferred Rp 546 billion to PT Era Giat Prima on June 1 as a commission to assure its interbank claims on closed institutions were reimbursed by the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency.

A Golkar team verified that the party was not involved in the scandal, Akbar said, adding that if several Golkar executives were implicated in the scandal "that was simply their own business deals".

The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit of transactions in the scandal found the Rp 15 billion was not derived directly from Manimaren but from businessman Arung Gauk Jarre, a close associate of former minister of the empowerment of state enterprises Tanri Abeng.

PwC recommended further investigation of both Jarre and Tanri.

The audit reported that Manimaren obtained Rp 30 billion in a loan from Bank Lippo to his company on May 27 and transferred the entire amount on the same day to Jarre.

Jarre in turn made three transfers amounting to Rp 5 billion to the Golkar election committee's account at Bank Bumi Daya's branch at the House of Representatives on June 2.

Banking analysts have questioned the procedures in Bank Lippo's loans to Manimaren because Ungaran Sari Garment obtained the Rp 30 billion loan from Bank Lippo on May 26, the same day it submitted its loan request.

Analysts found it a questionable coincidence that Manimaren's company obtained the loan from Bank Lippo only one day after Manimaren, through an arrangement by then finance minister Bambang Subianto, met with then Bank Bali's president Rudy Ramli about the processing of the bank's interbank claims.

They also queried how Bank Lippo, which was then in the process of being recapitalized by the government, was capable of providing such a substantial loan to a single company through a "super express credit assessment".