Four on graft charges in Indonesia central bank case

A former Indonesian central banker was charged along with three other central bankers with corruption which cost the state 100 billion rupiah ($8.84 million) in losses.

Four on graft charges in Indonesia central bank case

A former Indonesian central banker, 63, was charged with graft on Friday over a scandal that involves illegal payments to members of parliament.

Aulia Pohan, whose daughter is married to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's eldest son, was charged along with three other central bankers with corruption which cost the state 100 billion rupiah ($8.84 million) in losses.

"The defendants were fully aware that withdrawals from a central bank foundation were handed over to former central bank deputies to resolve the liquidity fund case and central bank bill amendment," prosecutor Rudi Margono told the Jakarta graft court.

The case centred on a foundation linked to the bank that is alleged to have made payments of about $10 million to lawmakers to smooth the passage of a central bank amendment bill and to cover legal assistance for former central bank officials involved in a 1999 liquidity fund case involving the central bank.

If found guilty, the four could face a maximum term of life in jail and a 1 billion rupiah fine, or a minimum four years' jail.

Several high-ranking figures involved in the scandal that have been found guilty include the former Bank Indonesia governor Burhanuddin Abdullah, who was sentenced to five years' jail last year, and lawmakers Hamka Yandhu and Antony Zeidra Abidin who got for three and 4-½ years respectively.

The Bank Indonesia scandal is potentially embarrassing for Yudhoyono, who promised to tackle endemic graft in Southeast Asia's biggest economy when he was elected in 2004.

However, Transparency International Indonesia, which monitors graft, commended Yudhoyono for his hands-off approach over the case but also said he should not exploit it for political gain. Yudhoyono is seeking a second term in office in a direct presidential election in July.

Indonesia regularly ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the world but appears to be making some progress in tackling the problem.

Several high-ranking officials have been imprisoned for graft in the past couple of years.

Reuters
Last Mod: 30 Ocak 2009, 11:06
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