A former senior Bank Century employee whose criminal case has drawn considerable public attention since her blogger daughter published a heartfelt plea on her behalf, in her closing statement to the Central Jakarta District Court on Thursday claimed she was just doing her job.
Arga Tirta Kirana, the since rebranded bank’s former corporate legal division head, denied being ultimately responsible for the disbursement of credit to shady companies without going through the proper procedures while she was working for Bank Century in 2009.
The prosecution is seeking a 10-year jail term and a Rp 10 billion ($1.1 million) fine.
Arga, mother of teenage writer and activist Alanda Kariza, 19, told the court: “I am not the one who is responsible in this case nor have I benefited from it.”
During her 20-minute testimony, Arga claimed she was being made a scapegoat to divert attention from the main issues surrounding the bailout process.
“I have been tyrannized. Hermanus [Hasan Muslim] and Robert Tantular are the ones who are responsible. Why is my sentence demand harsher than theirs? Is the judicial mafia behind this?” Arga said. “I have been set up so I can take the fall.”
Tantular, the disgraced former co-owner of the bank, since renamed Bank Mutiara, was sentenced to nine years in jail, while Hermanus, a former director, received six years.
Arga said she was only following orders at the time the credit was handed out and added that “Hermanus and Robert were looking for somebody to take the fall for the problematic disbursement of funds from the Deposit Insurance Agency [LPS] to Bank Century.”
Arga pleaded with the judge to consider the fate of her children.
“I hope, Your Honor, that you will follow your conscience in reaching your verdict. Nothing worries me more than the fate of my daughters. The youngest is 5 years old and still in kindergarten, my second daughter is 8 years old and the oldest is 19 and still in college. My husband is jobless after being fired from Bank Century in 2008,” she said.
After the hearing, Arga’s lawyer Humphrey Djemat told the Jakarta Globe that his client was merely doing her job as instructed by her employers. “She was asked by her boss to dole out funds to companies which later proved to be fake. But she did not know at the time these companies were fake. So she signed the credit facility documents using her name,” he said.
Purportedly bogus firms Wibowo Wadah Rejeki and Accent Investindo Indonesia received Rp 121.3 billion and Rp 60 billion, respectively, in loans.
“We are seeking justice for [Arga],” Humphrey said.
“Robert as well as Hermanus should take responsibility for their actions instead of trying to make an ordinary employee who knew nothing about what they were up to take the fall.”