Tue, 21 Mar 2000

Tanri Abeng slapped with travel restriction

JAKARTA (JP): Immigration officials on Monday said that former state minister of the empowerment of state enterprises Tanri Abeng has been slapped with an overseas travel ban as he is being investigated as a suspect in the Bank Bali scandal.

The spokesman for the immigration office, Mursanudin Ghani, told The Jakarta Post that the ban has been imposed since Wednesday.

"We have received a request from the Attorney General's Office to prevent Tanri Abeng from traveling abroad," he said.

"At that time we immediately informed all immigration checkpoints across the country," he added.

Spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, Soehandoyo, said the travel ban was imposed to prevent Tanri from fleeing abroad during the investigations.

The ban was signed by Deputy Attorney General for Intelligence, Yusuf Kartanegara.

Tanri and suspended Bank Bali official, Erman Munzir, were named in January as suspects in the Rp 546 billion Bank Bali scandal.

Tanri was accused of facilitating the money transfer to PT Era Giat Prima (EGP) for its services in assisting Bank Bali to recoup interbank claims of about Rp 904 billions from now defunct banks.

EGP is controlled by businessman Djoko S. Chandra and Golkar legislator Setya Novanto. It is suspected that part of the commission was used to bankroll B.J. Habibie's presidential reelection bid last year.

Separately, Tanri's lawyers chided the ban saying it was completely unnecessary.

Hotma Sitompoel told the Post that the only reason his client had gone abroad recently was to attract investors.

"The ban is baseless. We have guaranteed that our client won't fail any summons. Yes, he went abroad during the investigation, but it was only for a couple of days... and he brought investors home.

"This only shows that the work at the Attorney General's Office is not proper and the Attorney General is incompetent," Hotma remarked.

He also said that the travel ban notice has no time limit.

"Tomorrow, we (the lawyers) will come to the Attorney General's Office to ask them to lift the travel ban," he added. (01)