Tue, 30 Aug 1994

Lawyers demand acquittals for Sjahrizal and Bambang

JAKARTA (JP): The lawyers of two former directors of Bank Pembangunan Indonesia (Bapindo) yesterday demanded that their clients be acquitted of corruption charges, saying that the government has already convicted the main culprit.

The lawyers of Sjahrizal and Bambang Kuntjoro said their clients could not be tried for the huge losses inflicted on the bank given that they had not even been questioned by the bank's shareholders, in this case the government.

They said the court has already convicted Maman Suparman, formerly the deputy manager of the bank's Jakarta branch, in connection with the $448 million loss caused by the bank's dealings with businessman Eddy Tansil.

Sjahrizal and Bambang have retained the services of top lawyers Harjono Tjitrosoebono and Hotma Sitompoel, respectively, to defend them at their trials at the Central Jakarta District Court. They are held responsible, individually or collectively, with other bank's directors, for allowing the debacle that nearly bankrupted the bank.

Although they were tried in separate courtrooms, their defense statements yesterday were almost identical.

"Since Bapindo is a limited company, the only authorized body to decide whether our client is right or wrong is the Bapindo's shareholders meeting," Harjono said in his statement yesterday.

Harjono and Hotma also criticized the government prosecutors' dossiers against their clients as inconsistent and ambiguous.

He said the court has already found Maman guilty of violating the banking regulations that led to the scandal and sentenced him to nine years imprisonment.

"How come now Sjahrizal and the other members of the board of directors are put on trial for violations they did not commit," he said.

A similar statement also appeared in Hotma's defense of Bambang.

Harjono said that the bank's directors could not be blamed for mistakes in Bapindo's annual financial statement which were discovered by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), because the report had already been approved by the Minister of Finance, J.B. Sumarlin, who was also the bank's chief commissioner.


The lawyer said that based on the country's corporate law, the minister should be held liable for the financial reports he approved.

Hotma argued that the court should try the members of the board of directors together and not separately because decisions at the banks are collective in nature.

Two other former Bapindo directors, Subekti Ismaun and Towil Heryoto, are currently being tried at the South Jakarta District Court on similar charges.

The hearing was adjourned until Thursday.

The government prosecutors have accused Sjahrizal and Bambang of improperly using their positions in the bank to allow Tansil to cash in on his loans in violation of standard banking procedures.

Tansil, owner of the Golden Key Group, has already been sentenced to 17 years imprisonment and ordered to pay Rp 500 billion in restitution and Rp 30 million in fines. (02)