Friday, 21 September, 2012 | 14:57 WIB
Jusuf Kalla’s Version of the Century Bank Bailout
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Former Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the process to disburse the bailout worth Rp6.7 trillion to Bank Century was not transparent. The money was given without any prior notice to the President and Vice President. "I didn’t know and this is indeed mysterious," Kalla said at the meeting with the Team of Inspectors (Timwas) of the House of Representatives (DPR) on the Century case on September 19.
According to Kalla, when the funds were disbursed, the president was on a visit abroad. As vice president, Kalla was responsible for running the country. However, in several meetings, he was never told about Bank Indonesia’s plan to bail Bank Century out. In fact, when the money was eventually given on November 23, 2008, Kalla was still not informed.
Two days later, on the morning of November 25, 2008, he along with several ministers for the economy held a meeting. There was no discussion about bailouts for the bank owned by Robert Tantular. It was not until the evening in a closed meeting attended only by the Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and Bank Indonesia Governor Boediono that he was informed about the Bank Century bailout.
To some media, Sri Mulyani once stated that she texted Kalla on November 21, 2008 about the bailout plan. Kalla repudiated the statement. Kalla said he had never known about and had never received the short-text message that Sri Mulyani mentioned. "I knew nothing, although they met at night, and it was kept secret."
Kalla said, at the meeting, Boediono and Sri Mulyani said the government had been robbed by Bank Century. "So I immediately gave the instruction to arrest the owner of the troubled bank."
Not only was he furious for having been deceived by Robert Tantular who did not fulfill his obligations to his customers, Kalla was also outraged that the decision had not involved him. In an earlier meeting, in a bailout plan for Indover Bank, Kalla had strongly urged the government to be selective in making bailout decisions.
Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perpu) No. 4 of 2008, said Kalla, cannot be applied either to justify the disbursement of the bailout because the Perpu that was issued to prevent the economic crisis could only be used to bail out banks that would have a systemic impact. Century, based on Sri Mulyani testimonies in a number of meetings, had no systemic effect. "The decision clearly was a violation because there was no legal basis."
Also a violation, said Kalla, was the bailout scheme that used a blanket guarantee system because only banks with systemic impact would be eligible to such a scheme. "Actually, this is where the fault really lies."
Kalla lays the major blame in the Bank Century case squarely on Bank Indonesia’s door. If the Anti-graft Commission is serious about resolving the case, the inquiry must focus on Bank Indonesia. "Why did BI give a blanket guarantee without grounds? Even I, being on the inside, don’t know anything about it."
IRA GUSLINA SUFA