Thursday, December 17, 2009
The Bank Century Scandal and the DPR
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The day after the House of Representatives (DPR) agreed to make all meetings of the Bank Century Inquiry Committee open, the Committee made its plans known, at least for the initial phase, on how it intends to go about the business of unraveling the ‘scandal’ that may have cost the state some IDR 6.7 trillion in losses.


The plan, revealed in a press conference held at the DPR (15/12), that there were going to be three main issues, according to Idrus Marham, the Head of the Committee:

(1) gathering together a collection of experts to assist them in achieving the goal of unraveling the scandal; (2) the inquiry is to be theme-based (tematik), and; (3) cost of getting this inquiry done.


Currently, the Committee has 24 names of experts in the relevant fields that they will ask to help them scrutinize the scandal, now popularly known as “Centurygate.”


“We will be asking for some perspectives from experts…in relation to the examination process of [what] the Committee is conducting. Some have agreed, whereas others are still unconfirmed,” said Professor Dr. T. Gayus Lumbuun, the Committee’s deputy head at the press conference.


Some of the Experts (to date)


Dradjad Wibowo; Ichsanuddin Noorsy; Kwik Kian Gie; Hendri Saparini; Yanuar Rizky; Jimly Asshidiqie; Tholip Sukiantono; Yenti Gunarsih; Sukoyo; Irman Putra Sidin; Refly Harun; Bambang Purnomo; Purbaya Yudi Sadewo; Refrisond Baswir; Rudi Satrio; Tony Prasetyantono; Prasetyantoko; Erman Rajagukguk; Amir Sunaryadi; Sigit Pramono; Fauzi Ikhsan; Saidi Irsan; Rian Nugroho, and; Arifin Suryaatmaja.


During the press conference the members of the Committee that were present went on to explain the theme-based approach. These themes are to be determined by the Committee themselves. So far, there are two basic themes to be pursued: (1) the merger process of several banks (Danpac, CIC, and Pikko Banks) into Bank Century, and; (2) the granting of a Short Term Financing Facility (Fasilitas Pendanaan Jangka Pendek / FPJP) to the Bank.


The Committee expressed a desire to ’invite’ any individuals connected with the issues at hand and inquire of them any involvement they have had personally and any knowledge that they have of the events that led to the bailout, prior to and after the bailout happening.


The first set of individuals likely to be summonsed by the Committee is the 2004 – 2005 Governers of Bank Indonesia (BI), including Burhanudin Abdullah, Miranda Gultom, and Aulia Pohan, among others, on 21 December 2009.


Following on from the 21 December 2009 summonses will be a request for the Finance Minister, the FPJP, the Deposit Insurance Corporation (Lembaga Penjamin Simpanan / LPS), the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kamar Dagang Indonesia / KADIN), the Directors of Century / Mutiara Bank, and victims or customers of Bank Century to come and meet with the Committee on 22 December 2009.


Interestingly, the scope of the inquiry is comprehensive and expansive as the Committee noted that it also intends to ‘invite’ the former Vice-President, Jusuf Kalla, and the then Board of Governors of BI: Boediono—now the Vice-President, Hartadi A. Sarwono, Siti Chalimah Fadjriah, Budi Rohadi, Budi Mulyana, and Mulyaman D. Hada, among others, to share what they know of the scandal.


However, Prof. Lumbuun acknowledged that two themes is probably a little on the short side as to what needs to be covered by the Committee in their inquiry if the ‘truth’ of the scandal is to ever be uncovered. So, Prof. Lumbuun expects that the themes will be both flexible and expansive over time. The idea was reinforced with Mr. Marham noting that the Committee is employing an “open-list” scenario. Clearly, more than those names mentioned to date are going to be called at some stage during the inquiry.


The ‘big’ issue that is undoubtedly going to garner a lot of interest in the public sphere is the projected cost of the inquiry. Yahya Sacawiria, a Committee deputy, said that the projected cost of running the inquiry is expected to be in the vicinity of IDR 2.7 billion. According to Sacawiria, the public are going to get some real bang for their buck throughout the inquiry as the costs include field trips, invitations to experts, and then ‘incentives’ to get those invited experts to assist the inquiry going forward.