Thu, 04 Aug 1994

Court rejects plan to appoint Basuki executor

JAKARTA (JP): The South Jakarta district court yesterday rejected an appeal by the late Basuki Abdullah's lawyer to appoint a new executor to his estate directing the matter instead to the jurisdiction of the state owned Heredity Property Management Body (BHP).

"The court cannot permit the request since it falls beyond the realm of a public court," said presiding Judge Moegihardjo in answer to Siti Zaitin Noor's appeal to have Mrs. Saraswati Kouwenhouven appointed as executor.

In the court's opinion, a new executor must be designated by the BHP after considering a formal request made through a public notary.

Basuki Abdullah, one of Indonesia's most celebrated painters, was murdered at his home at Jl. Keuangan, Cilandak, South Jakarta, in November.

Though the culprits have since been apprehended and sentenced 10 and 15-year jail terms, controversy lingers surrounding a secret will drawn up by the painter just months before his tragic death.

In it he divides the bulk of his wealth, comprised of his painting collection and reproduction rights, to Saraswati Kouwenhouven, his Dutch daughter from a previous marriage and Cicilia Sidhawati, his daughter from current Thai widow Nataya Nareerat as well as the Indonesian government.

Surprisingly Nataya was left with little in the will.

Confusion surrounding the will arose just days after Basuki's death when Dr. Fuad Hasan, former minister of education and culture and the appointed executor of the estate, rejected any connection to the will saying Basuki had never informed him of the appointment.

Siti Noor then asked the South Jakarta district court to appoint Saraswati as executor.

She claimed that as Basuki's natural daughter she was also the legal heir to the rest of the estate since their were no formal records supporting Nataya's marriage to Basuki.

Siti Noor also claimed that Cicilia is merely an adopted daughter of the painter.

She brought forth evidence from the Indonesian embassy in Bangkok that the marriage was never registered, but the allegation was countered by Nataya's lawyer, Eddy Danuwidjaja, who introduced marriage documents.

If the court had approved Siti Noor's request, there would have been sufficient grounds to cut Nataya completely out of any right to the remainder of Basuki's estate not stipulated in the will.


When asked to comment on the verdict, Siti Noor said, "no we don't feel we've been damaged by the verdict" adding that she will have to consult with Saraswati before deciding to take the matter to the BHP.

The BHP, or Balai Harta Peninggalan, is a body under the Ministry of Justice responsible for executing disputed inheritances first established during Dutch colonial rule.

Nataya's lawyer, Eddy Danuwidjaja, upon hearing the verdict, refused to call it a victory.

"I was here only to represent my client who was called as a witness," he said, leaving the courtroom while concealing a grin. (mds)