Editorial: Sri Mulyani Should Come Clean Now

JUNE 08, 2015

Sri Mulyani Indrawati is one of the Indonesia’s smartest people. Her reputation as a capable economist and technocrat is globally acknowledged. The decision by the World Bank to appoint her as a managing director is testament not only of her capability but also of her credibility.

The country’s former finance minister has made Indonesia proud, as it is very rare that the nation has figures who can compete globally, especially within the jungle of the economic and financial world, in which the world’s brightest analysts are competing for fame. Briefly put, she is a valuable asset to the nation.

But when Sri Mulyani left Jakarta for the World Bank job, she left behind quite a mess and some unfinished business that continues to haunt her. We are still waiting for her to clarify her role in the Bank Century scandal that caused more than Rp 7 trillion ($525 million) in state losses — she and then-Vice President Boediono have been accused of abusing their power in connection with the 2008 bank bailout.

On Monday, Sri Mulyani was questioned by the police about the appoinment of Trans Pacific Pertrochemical Indotama to sell crude oil condensate in Indonesia in 2009 by the upstream oil and gas regulator, which she approved and which resulted in Rp 2 trillion in state losses.

Sri Mulyani is still a witness in both cases, and it’s hard to believe that she intended to benefit or even take bribes in these cases. However, she has to come clean and explain honestly what was really happening — to squash all doubts. Like it or not, the cases have tainted her reputation.

It’s time for Sri Mulyani to stop protecting people at the expense of her own reputation. She owes them nothing. The Indonesian people, however, especially her many admirers, deserve the truth.