Fri, 26 Aug 1994

Sumarlin hit with new allegations

JAKARTA (JP): Two former directors of the Bank Pembangunan Indonesia (Bapindo) leveled fresh allegations, yesterday, regarding the role played by former finance minister J.B. Sumarlin in the Rp. 1.3 trillion ($620 million) scandal at the government-owned bank.

Subekti Ismaun and Bambang Kuntjoro, in separate testimony, said that Sumarlin put pressure on the bank's directors to virtually give businessman Eddy Tansil a blank check.

Sumarlin was finance minister at the same time that he was the bank's chief commissioner.

The two men were testifying in the trial of another former Bapindo director, Towil Heryoto, at the South Jakarta District Court. He is facing accusations of collaborating with Tansil, the owner of the Golden Key Group, to help him defraud the bank of $448 million with loans obtained between 1989 and 1993. Former bank directors Subekti and Bambang, as well as former-director Sjahrizal, are all being tried on similar charges.

Sumarlin, who is now the chairman of the Supreme Audit Board, has denied allegations that he put pressure on Bapindo to continue the loans to Tansil when the bank directors became wary of the high risk of default in June, 1992.

Subekti said in his testimony that in June 1991, Sumarlin was insisting that Bapindo take the lead in the loan syndicate to finance one of Tansil's projects -- even though the bank was already exceeding its limit in lending funds to Tansil.

"Bapindo is not interested in financing PT Pusaka Warna of Polyethylene anymore," Subekti said, repeating a statement he made during the meeting with Sumarlin and Tansil when he was asked to finance one of the three petrochemical projects of the Golden Key Group.

Subekti said Tansil offered a way out by suggesting that Bapindo take up a long term loan from Sinopec, a Hong Kong based financial institution, and use the money to make fresh loans to Golden Key Group.

The bank agreed to the proposal after assurances from Sumarlin that the Indonesian Export Association (ASEI) would underwrite the insurance policy for the loans, he said.

In his testimony, Bambang also disclosed a conversation he had with Towil before June 2, 1992, about how Sumarlin had put pressure on Towil to approve another loan application from Tansil. "This one was for a Rp 1.9 trillion olefin and aromatic plant."


Towil resisted the pressure, saying that Bapindo had already extended huge sums to the Golden Key Group, according to Bambang.

Bambang also recalled that Sumarlin during a meeting with Sjahrizal on June 2, 1992, gave an instruction that Bapindo should make good on all its commitments to Tansil.

His instruction annulled an earlier decision by the bank's board of directors to cut on their losses, then still amounting to just over $200 million.

Sumarlin has denied having issued such an instruction and doubted the existence of a meeting with Sjahrizal on June 2, 1992, pointing out that he was in Jayapura helping with an election campaign for Golkar, the ruling political organization, on that day.

Yesterday's trial also heard testimony of Husein Syarkawi and Budi Setiawan. They were a Bapindo staff member and head of the Bapindo's Planning and Development division, respectively, at the time that the credits were extended.

Tansil was already sentenced to 17 years imprisonment and ordered to pay Rp 500 billion in restitution and Rp 30 million in fines. Maman Suparman, formerly deputy manager of Bapindo's Jakarta branch, was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for his role in the scam. (02)