Mon, 10 Apr 2000

Tanri goes abroad with special permit

JAKARTA (JP): Attorney General Marzuki Darusman admitted on Sunday that his office had given approval to former state minister of state enterprises empowerment Tanri Abeng to go abroad despite a travel ban imposed on him.

Marzuki said that such a permit was given to suspects who were banned from traveling overseas if they could prove it was for reasons relating to their livelihood.

"The travel ban is not something absolute and not without certain exceptions. The Attorney General's Office has the authority to grant such a request," Marzuki told The Jakarta Post.

Tanri went abroad for business and health reasons, according to Marzuki.

The former minister, a suspect in the Bank Bali scandal, departed for Malaysia and Australia on Wednesday and returned home on Saturday, one day before the leave permit expired.

The immigration office slapped Tanri with a travel ban on Jan. 22 upon the request of the Attorney General's Office. The ban came after Tanri and suspended Bank Bali official, Erman Munzir, were named suspects in the Rp 546 billion scandal.

Many linked the case with the election bid of former president B.J. Habibie last year.

Tanri's lawyer Hotma Sitompoel said there was no collusion or bribe involved in gaining the travel permit.

"We just completed all procedures in requesting the permit. Moreover, approval is not something special, a suspect can even ask for the lifting of a travel ban," Hotma said.

He said Tanri went abroad to attract foreign investors and to check his health.

Efforts to uncover Bank Bali scandal turned sour when the South Jakarta District Court dropped early last month the indictment of Djoko S. Chandra, an executive of PT Era Giat Prima, a company which helped Bank Bali recoup Rp 904 billion in interbank loans.

The scandal centers around a transfer of Rp 546 billion to the company for its services for the bank. (01)