Lawmakers Push for Quick Follow-Up in Century Bailout Investigation
Anita Rachman, Muninggar Sri Saraswati & Febriamy Hutapea
After already going against the ruling coalition line in declaring there were “indications” of crimes and irregularities in the state bailout of Bank Century, lawmakers from the Golkar Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) on Thursday urged the House to immediately form a team to monitor the follow-up investigations.
A divided House of Representatives called for further investigations into the Century bailout, presumably by the National Police, Attorney General’s Office or the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
In a 325-212 vote on March 3, lawmakers declared there were indications of corruption, banking crimes and general crimes in the 2008 bailout. Two days later, the House went into recess and is only set to return in April.
“The team should be formed as a miniature version of the House special committee [that investigated the Century bailout],” said Anis Matta, secretary general of the PKS. “It should ideally consist of 15 people from all [nine] factions in the House.”
The PKS, Golkar and another member of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party-led coalition, the United Development Party (PPP), voted with the opposition bloc of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) against the government.
Despite the House recommendation, however, law-enforcement agencies are not required to follow up with their own investigations.
Priyo Budi Santosa, House Deputy Speaker from Golkar, said he believed the establishment of a monitoring team was crucial in pushing for a thorough investigation of the bailout.
“Law enforcers should respond positively to the House recommendations and the government must support them,” Priyo said.
He added that the House would not hesitate to use its right to express its opinion on the issue should the government and law enforcers be viewed as hesitant in taking the legislature’s recommendations seriously.
“If there is a lack of good will in following up [the House recommendations], it is possible to launch a motion to use the [House] right to express our opinion. The House, however, would do this as a last resort,” Priyo said.
The House’s consultative body is expected to discuss the establishment of a small monitoring committee and bring the proposal to a plenary session in April for approval.
Separately, lawmaker Eva Kusuma Sundari, from the PDI-P, said her party expected nothing less than that the monitoring team would be set up immediately after the House returned from recess in April.
“The PDI-P had actually suggested that the House form it before the recess, but no one responded to the idea,” Eva said, adding the party would propose five PDI-P lawmakers to sit on the team. Eva said the team should ideally consist of 30 lawmakers, with clearly outlined duties and a time frame.
“I think we should work fast, three to six months would be enough,” Eva said. “Our aim is to protect the recommendations until it [the Century case] goes to trial or to the Anti-Corruption Court, after that we’ll leave it with the appropriate authorities.”
House Speaker Marzuki Alie said the House would discuss the establishment of the monitoring team during a leadership meeting to be held next month.
“We will discuss whether the House really needs to set up a special monitoring team or if the monitoring can be carried out by Commission III [for legal affairs law],” the Democratic Party politician said. He added that Commission III already had a mandate to monitor law-enforcement agencies.
Marzuki said he hoped the monitoring of the implementation of the House’s recommendations in the Century case would not receive excessive exposure, so the legislature could focus on more crucial duties.
“There are dozens of bills awaiting deliberation. We shouldn’t concentrate on [Century] alone.”