Ex-Bank Indonesia Deputy Says She’s Suspect in Bribery Case

Ex-Bank Indonesia Deputy Says She’s Suspect in Bribery Case
Women stand in front of the Bank Indonesia building in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

Former Bank Indonesia Senior Deputy Governor Miranda S. Goeltom said the country’s anti-corruption agency has named her as a suspect in the bribery case involving her election to the post in 2004.

“I don’t have any worries,” Goeltom, 62, said today by telephone. “I’m pretty sure the anti-graft body will be fair and they will see the truth.”

Goeltom’s election sparked one of the highest profile corruption scandals to involve Indonesia’s parliament, with more than 20 lawmakers jailed for accepting bribes for votes. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has faced renewed pressure to stem corruption after a party official came under investigation for bribery last year.

Fighting graft is key to Indonesia’s efforts to attract investment after winning its second credit rating upgrade in five weeks. Moody’s Investors Service on Jan. 19 returned the country to investment level for the first time since the Asian financial crisis.

“I am not guilty,” Goeltom said, adding that she never asked anybody to give money to lawmakers and that she learned of her being a suspect from local media reports.

Bank Indonesia isn’t providing any assisting to Goeltom regarding the case and will defer to the the legal process, Difi Johansyah, a spokesman at Bank Indonesia, said by text message today.

Minimal Impact

The graft agency may have a tough time proving a connection between those who bribed lawmakers and Goeltom herself, Fauzi Ichsan, a Jakarta-based senior economist at Standard Chartered Plc, said by phone. The impact of the case will be minimal since she is no longer with the central bank, he said.

Her case “is something that attracts the attention of the elite and within financial circles, but it’s not something that attracts the interest of the mass population,” Ichsan said.

The graft agency said yesterday a former senior deputy governor was a suspect, while declining to provide the person’s full name. The agency is only allowed to provide the suspect’s initials, which are MSG, spokesman Johan Budi said.

Goeltom’s five-year term as senior deputy governor expired in July 2009. She received a doctorate in economics from Boston University, according to the central bank’s website.

Muhammad Nazaruddin, former treasurer of Yudhoyono’s Democrat Party, faces trial over alleged bribes for building projects for the Southeast Asian Games hosted by Indonesia in November. He has connections to businesses worth at least 6 trillion rupiah ($669 million), according to the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK.

Yudhoyono’s popularity slumped after Nazaruddin’s arrest in August. A poll by Indonesian Survey Circle published Oct. 16, the most recently released, showed 46.2 percent approved of his performance, down from 63.1 percent in January 2010.

Indonesia’s ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index improved last year compared with 2010, according to its latest report.

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