Ex-chief of Indonesia's top audit agency declared graft suspect

Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission on Monday said a former chief of the country's top audit agency is suspected of graft involving one of the country's biggest banks.

Hadi Poernomo, 67, was declared a suspect only a few hours after he retired from his position as chairman of the Supreme Audit Agency.

Abraham Samad, chairman of the anticorruption commission, told a press conference that Hadi allegedly approved an objection filed by Bank Central Asia, the country's largest private bank, to pay income tax on non-performance loan transactions worth 5.7 trillion rupiah (about $499 million) in 2003, when Hadi was director general of taxation at the Ministry of Finance.

Hadi served as director general of taxation from 2001 to 2004. He was named chief of the Supreme Audit Agency in 2009.

A director dealing with income tax under Hadi at the time rejected the bank's objection, but Hadi later instructed the director to change his decision, according to Abraham.

"So, the suspect abused his authority he had, causing a state loss of 375 billion rupiah," Abraham said, referring to the income tax BCA was required to pay.

Under the country's 2001 Anticorruption Law, Hadi faces 20 years in jail if found guilty in court.

No arrest warrant has been issued and neither Hadi nor his lawyer gave any comment on the allegations.