Wed, 23 Feb 2000

Commercial Court starts trial of Dharmala Sakti bankruptcy

JAKARTA (JP): The Jakarta Commercial Court will hold the first hearing of a US$2.4 million bankruptcy case between plaintiff PT Hanil Bakrie Finance Corporation and defendant PT Dharmala Sakti Sejahtera on Wednesday.

"Tomorrow is the first court hearing for our case," said the plaintiff's lawyer, Rafael Adrian of Faisal & Panggabean law firm, on Tuesday.

It is the second bankruptcy attempt by Hanil Bakrie against Dharmala Sakti after its first attempt was foiled early last year when the court ruled in favor of the defendant.

The first attempt was rejected as Dharmala Sakti was able to convince the court that it had a debt restructuring agreement with the plaintiff.

The validity of the debt agreement, which according to Hanil never existed, was backed by a Supreme Court decision.

"We actually did not see it as an agreement. It was an offer letter signed by them but never approved by Hanil Bakrie as there was no counter-sign on the offer letter," Rafael said about the agreement.

According to the controversial restructuring agreement, the maturity of the Dharmala Sakti debt was rescheduled from July 7, 1998 to July 7, 1999.

"Hanil Bakrie conceded to this new 1999 maturity, but then they still failed to pay," Rafael added.

Meanwhile, president of Hanil Bakrie said he had been cordial toward Dharmala Sakti before finally deciding to take the case to the courts.

He hopes the commercial court will recognize that no one dares to make an investment in Indonesia without confidence of getting their money back.

"We want to see justice in Indonesia. We consider the bankruptcy petition against Dharmala Sakti as a litmus test for the rule of law in Indonesia under newly elected President Abdurrahman Wahid," he said.

Dharmala Sakti is a holding company of Dharmala Group, owned by Gondokusumo family.

There are at least three companies affiliated to Dharmala Group that have been declared bankrupt, namely, PT Dharmala Agrifood, PT Putra Surya Multidana and foreign affiliate Detron Ltd. of Singapore.

Another, PT Aster Dharma, was also declared bankrupt, but later overruled by the Supreme Court through its civil review decision late last year.(udi/rei)