Fri, 22 Sep 2000

Prosecutor files appeal against Djoko verdict

JAKARTA (JP): Prosecutors here on Thursday formally submitted appeal notes against the recent verdict which exonerated Djoko S. Tjandra from the Rp 546 billion (US$65 million) Bank Bali scandal.

Prosecutor Antasari Azhar in the appeal notes claimed that Djoko's alleged role was a criminal one despite the fact that his involvement in the loan scandal was possibly a civil matter.

"In the 34-page notes I argued that there were activities conducted by Djoko as a director of a financial trading company which had made the government disburse Bank Bali interbank loans which were actually unnecessary," he told journalists after handing the notes to the South Jakarta District Court.

From here the appeal notes will be handed over to the Supreme Court.

The scandal first arose in 1998 when PT Era Giat Prima (EGP) signed a cessie agreement with Bank Bali to process Rp 904 billion in loans owed to the bank by three closed banks -- Bank BDNI, Bank Tiara and Bank Umum Nasional.

Many have suggested that this agreement was unnecessary because the loans were guaranteed by the government.

The Rp 546 billion commission paid to PT EGP allegedly was used to help finance former president B.J. Habibie's reelection campaign.

Prosecutors during the trial alleged that Djoko, as director of the trading and investment firm PT EGP, influenced certain officials, including now inactive Central Bank (BI) Governor Sjahril Sabirin, to disburse money for the repayment of the funds.

Judge Soedarto, who presided over the trial, later freed Djoko on Aug. 28 this year over a legal technicality and the prosecutor's failure to back his arguments with testimonies from witnesses.

The judge also maintained that the case was a civil case and did not incur losses to the state.

Antasari, who is also chief of the South Jakarta Prosecutor's Office said on Thursday he deplored the judge's verdict which he said was full of confusion.

He further refuted the court's verdict which based its findings on a newer 1999 law despite the fact that the indictment was based on the Anti Corruption Law No. 3/1971.

Earlier, Antasari had demanded an 18-month jail term for Djoko.

Antasari expressed hope that the Supreme Court will see the appeal "clearly" and return a guilty verdict.

"I hope the justices examine the appeal notes thoroughly and in a fair manner," he added. (bby)