Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Bank Century Scandal

Bank Century scandal has shocked our banking industry nor yet recovering fully from the 1997 financial crisis. The past 12 incident has reminded us of preventing the massive robbery of state money from repeating. Banking rules have tightened and white collar crime is subject to heavier sanction. Nonetheless, banking authorities have not found an effective way to detect early the embezzlement of state cash by naughty bankers.

Embezzlement still continues but the Bank Century case really surprises because the government has injected fresh funds amounting to Rp. 6.76 trillion. It resembles modus of operandi of banking crime in 1997 when Bank Indonesia and the government conspired to let the state cash open up thus owners of ailing banks could loot freely. Even, the government offered the funds through Bank Indonesia liquidity Assistance (BLBI). It was the starting point of the prolonged crisis that has continued to affect the people. The people already sacrificed hundreds of trillions of rupiah for BLBI keep silent even though the looters have not been sentenced and they understand the limited capability of the government to encounter the white collar criminals. Yet, the government distributed more funds to ailing bank now.

We almost loose word to comment about the issued. Hasn’t the past experience been sufficient to become an extremely bitter lesson? Why does one the government remain ready to rob trillions of rupiahs from the public to rescue only one bank? Later, what is the sense of all slogans related to the banking professionalism and architecture? Like the past crisis, bankers are only greedy foxes never satisfying to lot but the government still deems them as heroes contributing greatly so that they must be rescued even though the bailout is costlier. The real shape of fox comes out the executive dress after the sales of empty mutual funds and embezzlement of customer funds was uncovered. Instead of punishing criminal, the government injected rescue funds. It’s extremely irrational.

Why must the government deem the bank very important? Even, Vice President Jusuf Kalla reminded that the impact would expand if the case is investigated. What is the meaning of the statement? Owners and executives of the ailing reportedly run off funds and assets abroad with the amount estimated at Rp. 26 trillion. It’s not a new modus either because we frequently heard it in the past. “Some Rp. 26 trillion is a huge amount and anybody surely need containers to bring the money to come out of the country”, said Attorney General Hendarman Supandji, apparently intending to criticize why we could loose money in a huge amount without any trace.

Every action taken by the government to win the public sympathy won’t be fruitful. The damage occurred. Numerous irregularities blanket the case thus resulting in an impression that the government has received the people when the global communities are wary off financial crime just annihilating global economy.

In many countries, the criminals subject to long-term imprisonment and their assets are confiscated without compromise. However, in this country, the government injected funds to criminal bank. Is our government extremely lacking awareness of surrounding circumstances and the ongoing global economic development? Is the past crisis only un-valuable lullaby? If the administration trend continues, easy to spend money for improper thing, our country would never develop.

Kalla conceded that he did not know the disbursement of funds to Bank Century. Even, mass media did not trace it on the first occasion. The distribution of funds in such amount should secure approval from the House of Representatives. Up to this extend, the government should not be able to act surreptitiously. Now, the distribution of cash money assistance to millions of the poor people need tough deliberation, is included into draft state budget, reads in state address and waits for approval from the House of Representatives but why could the funds amounting to trillions of rupiah be distributed promptly to an ailing bank without public consent? What happens actually?

The Bank Century case may not be classified as an initial test for the second tenure of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. It’s one of the largest blunders taken by his administration. Indonesia has passed phases of history that should not open space and tolerate banking crime because it has destructive effects like terrorism and corruption. If the government wants to cure injury in the heart of the people from dark story, the injected funds have inevitably to be recouped, fugitives are caught by all possible means and heavy sentence is imposed if they are found guilty. Let’s witness the sentence imposed by the Jakarta District Court on the caught defendants in this case whether the settlement still resembles the method applied to BLBI wherein imprisonment was only imposed on bottom – level executives.

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