Tue, 21 Jan 2003

City will buy Japan's JITF shares

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Japanese government is offering to sell its 42 percent share in firm PT Jakarta International Trade Fair (JITF) to the city administration for just US$10 million -- but only if JITF get a court to rule it cannot pay its debt.

And administration plans to increase its holdings to become the majority shareholder in the corruption-tainted JITF, are well advanced.

"We hope the city council can approve the plan or the firm will be bought by a private company," said Rusdi Yusuf, the assistant on economic affairs to the city secretary.

Rusdi said a $120 million debt the city administration owed the Japanese Government was converted to equity in JITF, with the Japanese later writing off the debt to $20 million and then to $10 million.

The Japanese government had now agreed to sell its shares to the administration for $10 million, Rusdi said.

However, the Japanese government required that JITF ask a commercial court to rule the JITF could not pay its debt.

"We are currently processing the court decision. After the court's decision, the Japanese government could give the write off from US$20 million to US$10 million and the city administration will buy all the shares at $10 million," he said.

City Spokesman Muhayat said PT JITF would be bought by a company owned by businessman Edward Surjadjaja if the administration could not provide the cash.

"If Edward bought the shares, the administration would loose its assets and have no control in PT JITF," Muhayat told reporters at City Hall.

PT JITF is currently 42 percent owned by the Japanese Development Corporation or the Japanese government, 52.5 percent by PT Jaya Nusa Pradana (JNP) and 5 percent by the State Secretariat.

PT JNP is 75 percent owned by Edward's firm PT Griya Nusa Perdana and 25 percent owned by city-owned Jakarta Fair Foundation.

PT JITF, has a range of business dealings, including managing the 44-hectare Jakarta Fair Ground in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta which is used for the annual Jakarta Fair.

Last year, councillor Ugiek Soegihardjo of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle revealed that he received a bribe of Rp 20 million from PT JITF.

Ugiek was a member of the council's special team which investigated irregularities in the company.