Minister downplays Antasari claim of Century meeting with SBY
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A top minister says that former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Antasari Azhar might be lying about the meeting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to discuss the Bank Century bailout.
Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsudin said that the statement was aimed at creating a fresh controversy.
“I don’t know if Antasari deliberately made a statement about something that has never happened. I suspect that he was trying to divert the public’s attention,” Amir said as quoted by kompas.com.
Amir said that Antasari, currently imprisoned for masterminding a murder, should consider the consequences of making slanderous statements.
Antasari recently told Metro TV news that he was asked to join a closed-door meeting chaired by Yudhoyono in 2009 to discuss what measures should be taken to “save the country” from a possible financial crisis due to the collapse of Bank Century.
According to Antasari, several senior government officials attended the meeting, including Vice President Boediono, then governor of the central bank.
Also in attendance were Gen. (ret) Bambang Hendarso Danuri, then National Police chief; Hendarman Supandji, then attorney general; Widodo AS, then coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister; Sri Mulyani Indrawati, then finance minister; Hatta Rajasa, then state secretary; Andi Mallarangeng, then presidential spokesman and Denny Indrayana, then a presidential advisor and currently deputy law and human rights minister.
Antasari said he briefed Yudhoyono on possible fallout from the government’s bailout of the ailing bank, warning that it might violate banking law.
Siti Zuhro, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, said that Antasari might be telling the truth.
“What kind of issues was he trying to steer us away from? More and more graft cases involving government officials are coming under the spotlight, and I predict that more graft cases will be revealed. I don’t think that he was making a diversion,” Siti told The Jakarta Post over the weekend.
Siti said Antasari’s statement might provide an impetus for law enforcement agencies to investigate the case.
Antasari’s statement was also a reminder that the contentious Bank Century bailout, which eventually forced the ouster of Sri Mulyani as finance minister, was still far from resolution.
“The statement from Antasari can be used as background information for authorities to dig for new evidence,” she said.
Adnan Topan Husodo of the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) agreed, saying that the KPK should use Antasari’s statement to further investigate the bailout.
“Amir Syamsudin’s statement, which accused Antasari of lying, is irrelevant. Antasari’s statement was very detailed and the KPK should dig deeper and get as much as information possible from him,” Adnan told the Post in a telephone interview.
Antasari was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment by the South Jakarta District Court for his involvement in the murder of PT Putra Rajawali Banjaran director Nasruddin Zulkarnaen.
Former South Jakarta Police chief Williardi Wizar was imprisoned for 12 years and media businessman Sigid Haryo Wibisono was imprisoned for 15 years in the same case.
The Supreme Court has rejected Antasari’s request for a case review.
“Antasari’s educational background is the law. Therefore I suppose he knows all the consequences from of every statement that he makes,” Siti said. (nad)