A second Citibank employee has been named a suspect in the death of Irzen Octa, the secretary general of a small political party who died inside the bank’s office last week.
South Jakarta Police’s chief of detectives, Adj. Sr. Comr. Budi Irawan, said on Sunday that the new suspect was the head of collections at Citibank. He was identified only as DT.
“When the victim arrived at the Citibank office to clarify his debts, it was because he had made an appointment with this person, DT,” Budi said.
A total of four suspects have now been named in a case that has sparked a renewed debate over the use of third-party debt collectors by banks.
Two debt collectors, Henry Waslinton and Donald Harris Bakara, were named as suspects on Thursday, along with Citibank employee Arifin Lukman.
“Instead of being met by DT, the victim was met by the other suspects. DT [allegedly] instructed Arifin to meet with the victim,” Budi said.
The death of Irzen, 50, on Tuesday in a private room of the Citibank office at Menara Jamsostek was determined to have been caused by a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. But questions were raised after blood was found on the walls and curtains of the room where Irzen, an official with the National Unifying Party (PPB), had been interviewed by the debt collectors.
South Jakarta Police Chief Sr. Comr. Gatot Edy Pramono has said the suspects told officers they had only questioned and threatened the victim.
“They said they pounded on the table, kicked a chair and tapped on the victim’s shoulders,” he said. “The victim’s hands were also hit.”
These methods, Gatot said, had made the victim stressed to the point that he lost consciousness. Irzen’s widow, Nela, said her husband had no history of heart problems.
Gatot said the victim owed Rp 68 million ($7,800) on his Citibank credit card. After interest was added, that climbed to Rp 100 million, according to the bank. But Irzen, who had gone to the bank on Tuesday morning to discuss the debt, had claimed it was only Rp 48 million.
In a statement last week, Ditta Amahorseya, Citibank’s corporate affairs chief, said the bank followed a strict code of conduct with regards to debt collection.
“As representatives of the bank, all our contract staff are required to adhere to [the code] during all interactions with customers,” she said. “We are cooperating fully with the police in their investigations to determine if agency staff adhered to the code of conduct.”
However, the House of Representatives is planing to summon officials from Bank Indonesia, Citibank and the police on Tuesday about the case.
Harry Azhar Azis, deputy chairman of House Commission XI, which oversees finance and banking, said banks could not just wash their hands of cases like this and should be required to take full responsibility.
“Citibank cannot just hide and say it has done everything according to the law,” he said. “What has it done for the victim’s family? The central bank should also be held responsible, because banks are their domain and a life has been lost in this domain.”
Harry said he was aware that debt collectors were needed to collect money from delinquent customers, “but if it costs a life, it’s too much. After all, banks already use risk management to compensate for such bad loans,’’ he said.
Outsourced debt collectors are legal, according to a 2009 circular from the central bank. Budi Rochadi, a deputy governor of Bank Indonesia, said on Friday that debt collectors could not be regulated by the central bank, but that it has always urged banks and debt collectors to follow all the relevant laws and observe proper methods and ethics.
Bank officials told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday that the use of debt collectors was necessary, but acknowledged the need for strict supervision.
Haru Kusumahargyo, head of investor relations at Bank Rakyat Indonesia, said all banks had to outsource certain aspects of their operations, like debt collection.
“These outsourcing companies should and must be supervised by the banks and act on behalf of the banks,” Haru said. “The outsourcing companies [that collect debt] are on the front line of the business. Their behavior reflects the companies they represent.”
According to data from the central bank, total non-performing loans from credit card usage reached Rp 1.56 trillion through January 2011, or 4.6 percent of credit card usage, which totaled Rp 33.7 trillion.
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2005 LS 430. Flint Grey on Black. (sadly sold)
Wow that's pretty crazy, buying up cars like that and having a luxury apartment on other peoples money. Wonder how long she really thought she could get away with it for...or if she was just planning to quit the job after she got enough money.
07 IS250 - SOLD
08 Altima Hybrid
98 Prelude - SOLD