Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | 09:17 WIB

Revenge attack of Century Bank and BLBI mafia?

DR. Fuad Bawazier, MA
Economist and Former Finance Minister in Cabinet Development VII

IO – Within days after handing down a sensitive pre-trial decision, instructing the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi), or “KPK” to re-open an investigation of Budiono et al. as suspects in the Rp 6.7 trillion Century Bank bailout, Judge Effendi Mukhtar, an eminent jurist of the District Court of South Jakarta, was sent off as a Judge of the District Court of Jambi Province – a definite demotion.  In fact, this judge’s decision should be commended, because it has ended the logjam in the resolution of the Century Bank case.  Even though it has been 10 years since the 2008 bailout, it currently being 2018, KPK has always made the excuse that the CB scandal is “still under investigation” (with no new suspects named).  It is hard for the public to accept this sort of excuse from KPK, because the case is clear, the evidence has been openly discussed in many places and on numerous opportunities, and the various violations and deviations from proper procedure in the CB bailout process have been exposed.

On​ the other hand, KPK, which has de facto been proven to be “incompetent”,​ or has de facto deliberately stalled resolution of the case, has raised alarm among the public that it will remain unresolved until the statute of limitations runs out.  Oddly enough, KPK is also unwilling to hand over the case to the police or the Public Prosecutor (who can issue a 3rd Warning Letter if no proof is found), or establish a Joint Fact-finding Team (Tim Gabungan Pencari Fakta – “TGPF”) if they really do have trouble uncovering evidence.  It is only logical that the public suspects that KPI deliberately leave the case alone, or in other words, KPK is deliberately shielding the case from continued prosecution.  If this is true, there must be some mighty force that can impudently pressure KPK to “handle” the case and keep it from being completely resolved.

​In this situation, Masyarakat Anti Korupsi Indonesia – “MAKI”) suspects that KPK has quietly abused its authority by leaving alone and/or protecting the perpetrators of the CB scandal, i.e. by not pursuing the investigation thoroughly.  This is why MAKI submitted a pre-trial complaint, and why the honest judge, Effendi Mukhtar, made ample use of his reason and his conscience to make a breakthrough judgment to end the CB case stalemate. He has read between the lines and acknowledged the people’s aspiration for justice in this matter.  In our interpretation, this judgment was clearly made to devalue the train of excuses that is nothing but a series of KPK evasions – especially since there is back-channel information from KPK itself that the CB case has been resolved for a long time, and any further action depends on what the KPK Chairman decides to do in the end.

​For me, as an individual who has closely tracked banking bailouts and other fraudulent affairs since the BLBI era (1997/1998), I am aware of just how strong the banking mafia is, both in terms of its finances (obtained ​from ​their robberies) and its political network among those in power.  Therefore I strongly suspect (but actually am very certain in my heart) that these banking mafias (BLBI and Century Bank) are furious about the judgment ​of Judge Effendi Mukhtar, which not only disturbs their comfort and evasive strategies, and which they fear will result in a reinvestigation of BLBI.  Once again, I am not making accusations, because I am not an officer of the law charged with collecting evidence – I am simply, absolutely sure that such a curious demotion is a show of the banking mafia’s anger towards Effendi Mukhtar, and they are making a mild example of him in order to scare him off and to warn others from trying to get anywhere closer to the truth about BLBI and Century Bank.

As the Minister of Finance at the time, I well remember the difficulties encountered by the Government and BI back in 1998 during the BLBI investigation, because there was a strong impression that we were doubtful and afraid: there were so many parties interested in becoming “tough guys”, defending the BLBI bailout.  Therefore, I had to call in specialized international auditor teams who could expose the BLBI fund bailout independently.

I also remember how on 3 April 1998 I had 100 crooked bank owners and managers arrested, followed by certain “visits” from high State officials at the time.  They suggested I revoke the order to arrest their “masters”. It turns out that these high and mighty officials of the State are nothing but servants and footmen of BLBI. From my experience, these Mafiosi also frequently defend themselves and/or renew attacks on their opponents through third-party or indirect methods.

After these arrests, I remember perfectly how angry President Suharto was with this BLBI scandal, and how he agreed to my next idea to send these BLBI piggy-backers and facilitators to Nusakambangan. I then presented this plan before Commission IX of the DPR, with the purpose of getting them to expedite the return of BLBI funds. However, with Pak Harto’s abdication, not only were BLBI funds not returned, these people gained additional financial power from the State, with the Recapitalization Bonds (Obligasi Rekap). Luckily, prior to his retirement, Pak Harto ordered me, the Minister of Finance/Chairman of Monetary Council, to relieve the BI Directors that he believed to be responsible for BLBI, including Budiono (former Director, then Deputy Governor) of BI.

​Another indication is that the ones who escaped are slippery to catch or to brought back to Indonesia, and their wealth, whose sources we all know is right before our eyes, is not confiscated (to cover the State’s losses), because a great power protects it.  However, we are sure that Allah the Almighty does not sleep, and that therefore such nastiness will be exposed in due time.  Now it all depends on KPK’s independence and guts – that they step forward with or without the judgment of pre-trial judges. Don’t be afraid, don’t hesitate, do not doubt.  We love you KPK.