Ex-BI Officials Deny Link to Bribery Scandal

By webadmin on 10:49 pm May 31, 2010
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Dion Bisara

Four retired Bank Indonesia officials implicated in a 1999 bribery scandal to secure contracts to print rupiah notes denied on Monday any involvement, in their first public statements since the allegations surfaced last week.

Speaking on behalf of his three colleagues, Herman Joseph Susmanto, former BI director of money circulation, said they were acquainted with the man allegedly at the center of the scandal, but never conducted any business with him in relation to the printing contract in question.

The other three officials are Christian Sudirdjo and Mardiyo, both former deputy directors of money circulation, and I Made Sudana, former head of planning at the bank’s directorate of money circulation.

The Age, a Melbourne-based newspaper, reported on May 25 that confidential faxes from a Jakarta businessman to executives at two Australian companies, Securency Inter­national and Note Printing Australia, revealed plans to reward senior BI officials with huge “unofficial payments” and “commissions.”

The report alleged that the faxes indicated that senior Bank Indonesia officials may have received $1.3 million in bribes to award Securency International a contract to print banknotes.

Securency and NPA are sister companies and subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the country’s central bank.

The 1999 contract to print 500 million Rp 100,000 banknotes for Bank Indonesia is estimated to have been worth more than $50 million.

The report identified the middlemen as senior BI officials, known only as “Mr. S” and “Mr. M,” who allegedly carried out the backdoor dealings with local businessman Radius Chris­tanto, who was reportedly representing the two Australian companies. The former officials demanded that Radius immediately publicly identify “Mr. S” and “Mr. M.”

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and Bank Indonesian have launched probes into the allegations.

Susmanto on Monday said the BI officials communicated directly with Securency’s then-director Miles Curtis, and never with Radius.

He said the four BI officials only knew Radius as the owners of a company that sold money-counting machines to the central bank and serviced them.

“We want to make clear that in dealing with Securency, we never went through Radius Christanto,” Susmanto said.