Indonesian ex-central bank governor gets five years for graft

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

JAKARTA, October 29, 2008 (AFP) – A former governor of Indonesia’s central bank was sentenced to five years in jail and a relative of President Susilo Bambang was named a suspect Wednesday in a snowballing corruption scandal.

Burhanuddin Abdullah was convicted in the anti-corruption court of embezzling 10.3 million dollars in bank funds to bribe lawmakers and hire lawyers to defend bank officials facing corruption allegations.

“The defendant has been proved legally and convincingly to have been corrupt and must be sentenced to five years in jail and fined 250 million rupiah,” judge Gusrizal told the court.

Abdullah served as Bank Indonesia governor from 2003 until he was replaced earlier this year.

He told reporters as he was being led away by police that he would appeal.

“I’m very disappointed with the decision and will file an appeal… I will never stop pursuing truth and justice,” he said.

The scandal has severely damaged the credibility of the central bank but the sentence was less than the eight years’ jail and 500-million-rupiah fine demanded by the prosecution.

Anti-corruption campaigners said that while Abdullah may not have been the leader of the cash-for-favours ring his seniorit