Sat, 11 Nov 2000

City official to sue ads company

JAKARTA (JP): Chief of the City Planning Agency Ahmadin Ahmad, initially accused of receiving compensation from an advertising firm, vowed on Friday to sue the firm for defamation.

Ahmadin insisted that he had never received any money from the company in connection with the recommendation he issued for the firm, PT Cinggar Indo Galba, to erect a giant billboard in a restricted area on Jl. Sisingamangaraja in South Jakarta.

"I'll file a legal suit against the company because I never received nor asked for any money from them and they also never gave any form of compensation to Persija (the Jakarta Soccer Club) in regard to my recommendation," Ahmadin told reporters after meeting Governor Sutiyoso.

"I will also ask PT Cinggar Indo Galba to make a public apology for the statement made by one of its executives who accused me of having received money they said they'd provided for Persija," he remarked.

According to Ahmadin, who has been under fire over the issue shortly after returning from an official visit to South Africa, he issued the recommendation for the company to place the billboard at the roadside of Jl. Sisingamangaraja, South Jakarta, simply because he thought that the place was not restricted since there was already a giant billboard and two video billboards erected right across the street.

By law, he added, the recommendation from his office alone would not be enough for the company to erect a billboard at the place.

"It still needs a permit issued by the City Revenue Agency," Ahmadin said.

That's why city administration officials brought down the billboard of a well-known toothpaste company on Monday due to the lack of a permit, he said.

Ahmadin added that the regulation on the placement of billboards in the area, particularly those around the Senayan roundabout, remained unclear.

A news report quoted Kemal Adhisurya, president director of the firm, as saying last week that Ahmadin had received money from him in return for a recommendation that the company be able to erect the 10-meter-by-20-meter billboard in the Sisingamangaraja area.

The money, the amount of which is still unknown, was reportedly handed over to Ahmadin for Persija. The company paid the 2000/2001 fee worth Rp 109.5 million (US$11,530) to the City Revenue Agency.

According to Ahmadin, he planned to meet with Persija officials first prior to filing the case.

"The sooner the better," he said. (dja)