Tue, 14 Nov 2000

Trial begins for ex-Aspac director

JAKARTA (JP): The South Jakarta District Court initiated on Monday the corruption trial of the former director of credit at Bank Aspac.

The charges involved the misallocation of Rp 583.4 billion (US$63.4 million) of Government Liquidity Support (BLBI) funds for liquidated banks.

Prosecutor Soetantyo said defendant Hendrawan, 46, violated Article 1 of Law No. 3/1971 on corruption. The Article carries a maximum punishment of life in prison.

"The defendant, between February 1998 and February 1999, along with then Bank Aspac president Setiawan Harjono, allegedly abused his authority to enrich himself or others at the expense of the state," he told the court hearing, presided over by judge Muchtar Ritonga.

The prosecutor also accused Hendrawan of violating Article 49 of Law No.7/1992 on banking. The Article carries a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment.

Soetantyo said Bank Aspac received Rp 583.4 billion from Bank Indonesia in December 1997 as part of government liquidity support.

"The money should have been used only to settle the bank's liquidity problems, but not for other purposes," he said.

However, after receiving the funds from the central bank, Hendrawan reportedly allocated some of the money to the bank's foreign exchange trading activities and to finance the activities of some corporations affiliated with Bank Aspac.

Hendrawan, a high school graduate, lowered his head as the prosecutor read out the indictment made against him.

A team of five lawyers, led by B.E.D. Siregar of Bob Nasution & Partners law office, said they would prepare a counterstatement in response to the prosecutor's accusations.

L.M.M. Samosir, one of the team's members, questioned the prosecutor's motives in bringing the case to court.

He quoted a statement by House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Akbar Tandjung that the case would be settled through political means, and not legally.

"So we don't know the prosecutor's motive in settling the case through the courts," Samosir said.

Bank Aspac's financial statement was first audited by the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) before the case was handed to the House. The House then submitted the case to the Attorney General's Office for prosecution.

Prosecutor Soetantyo told The Jakarta Post after the hearing that main defendant Setiawan Harjono had yet to face charges against him because he was being hospitalized at Mitra Keluarga Hospital in East Jakarta.

Presiding judge Muchtar Ritonga adjourned the hearing until next Monday, when the court will hear the lawyers' counterstatement. (01)