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Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Indonesian bank chief faces corruption charge
wahid
President Wahid has promised democratic reform
Indonesia's central bank governor Sjahril Sabirin is to be charged with corruption in connection with a banking scandal.

"We have found preliminary evidence that he was involved in crimes of corruption, " said attorney-general Marzuki Darusman.

He was detained on Wednesday for 20 days after being named as a suspect in a major banking scandal.

Governor Sabirin has denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign.


sabirin
Governor Sabirin denies any wrongdoing
President Abdurrahman Wahid has demanded that the central bank chief should quit because of his role in the financial scandal involving the Golkar party of former President Suharto.

The scandal erupted last year over the illegal transfer of funds last year from insolvent Bank Bali to a company closely linked to the then ruling Golkar Party.

Many believed the money was meant to fund the re-election campaign of then President BJ Habibie, whose chances of re-election were scuppered by its discovery.

The scandal triggered a suspension of a loan from the International Monetary Fund, which has since been lifted.

Last week President Wahid said he had "obtained a handful of data about bad things that have been going on for a long time."

He said that once a governor of the Bank of Indonesia was named as a suspect in a case that would proceed to the court, he should resign.

Governor Sabirin was close to former President Suharto who appointed him in February 1998, replacing Soedradjad Djiwandono who was officially removed from the post.

Currency suffers

The uncertainty surrounding the country's central bank has hit shares and the led to a fall in the Indonesian curreny, the rupiah.

President Wahid was elected promising democratic and economic reforms in October.

Since then, he has put pressure on some government officials to resign.

However, a law was introduced last year giving the central bank independence from the country's executive and giving only parliament the power to sack its governor.

The law states that the governor should be forced to resign only in the case of illness or proven corruption.

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