Tue, 19 Dec 2000

Court annulls bankruptcy case against Tirtamas

JAKARTA (JP): The Central Jakarta Commercial Court annulled on Monday a bankruptcy case by the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) against giant trading company PT Tirtamas Comexindo, on doubts of the petition's legality.

Judge Mahdi Soroinda Nasution said the court declared IBRA's case as legally void, because documents that showed IBRA as Tirtamas' creditor contained legal flaws.

Subsequently, the court also canceled a voting of Tirtamas' suspension of payment appeal. "Therefore, conditions will return to as they were before the bankruptcy case was filed," Mahdi said during the hearing.

IBRA said it would appeal the court's ruling.

Tirtamas owes some Rp 1.5 trillion (US$157.89 million) to various banks and non-financial institutions, of which IBRA represented Bank Tamara with loans of Rp 38.19 billion.

The agency's lawyer Tony Aries described the court's ruling as too "daring".

"I cannot understand how the court can make that decision while efforts for a suspension of payment has come to a dead- end," Tony told reporters following the hearing.

Tony was representing IBRA in the suspension of payment hearing, while in the bankruptcy case, the agency was represented by Abdul Hakim G Nusantara & Partners law office.

Abdul Hakim, however, did not attend the hearing, and the court decided it will announce the same verdict again on Thursday on his presence.

According to Tony, if the court has doubts about IBRA's documents, then their legality should have been first tested in the state court.

The documents concerned a cassie agreement, or factoring, between IBRA and Bank Tamara on Tirtamas' loans.

Although IBRA claimed the documents to be valid, but in a different case, the very same cassie agreement that was referred to was legally flawed.

Court documents revealed that the attorney generals' office, which represented IBRA in another bankruptcy case against Bank Pelita, acknowledged the cassie agreement to be flawed.

Among the mistakes the attorney general's office cited was the absence of a notary's office signature on the cassie agreement.

"The attorney's claim is one sided... it's not our claim but it's theirs," Tony said.

He said that the attorney general's office must first verify its finding with IBRA, as it is the grantor of the office's power of attorney.

Tirtamas' legal representative Hotman Paris Hutapea said that since the attorney general's office made the claim fully on behalf of IBRA, a disagreement between them should not have occurred.

He further dismissed the likelihood that IBRA could make an appeal on the case.

"To my knowledge, a suspension of payment ruling cannot be appealed," Hotman said. (bkm)