Mon, 15 May 2000

Former Sony distributor reports Tommy Winata to DPR

JAKARTA (JP): A former distributor of Sony electronic goods in the country has taken her business dispute with tycoon Tommy Winata to House of Representatives (DPR) legislators.

"We'll ask for help from the legislators to protect us from the judicial institution's arbitrariness," Christine Hartani Tjakra was quoted as saying by Antara on Sunday.

She was commenting on a recent verdict by the Central Jakarta District Court, which ruled in favor of Johnny Kesuma, a director of one of Tommy's subsidiaries.

Tommy, who reportedly has business relations with the Indonesian Army, has been the center of public speculation after President Abdurrahman Wahid ordered the National Police last month to arrest him. The owner of Bank Artha Graha was alleged to have conducted gambling activities on a cruise ship in the city waters.

The allegation was corrected by Attorney General Marzuki Darusman a few days later. He said the cruise ship owner was a businessman named Sugeng Prananto.

Christine said the dispute began in 1985 when Johnny promised to acquire her company PT Ratu Irama International (PT RII), then a sole distributor and brand holder of Sony products in Indonesia, for US$3.5 million.

She said Johnny used all company's facilities to assemble electronic goods under Sony brands even though he was not the brand holder of the products in Indonesia. In return, he paid for employees and taxes of Rp 105 billion ($12.35 million).

Johnny later acquired PT RII for $2.217 million and Rp 254 million, she said.

"Johnny paid in installments, but he has not paid all his debts until now," she said.

After he took control of the company, Johnny filed a request with the government that it revoke PT RII's license as the sole distributor of Sony products in Indonesia, she said.

"The government approved Johnny's request and issue a ruling through the Ministry of Industry and Trade in August 1987," she said.

She accused Johnny of planning to unite all activities related to Sony products in Indonesia into one company.

"Johnny was the president director of PT Amcol Graha Electronic Industry, a producer of Sony products, in cooperation with Singapore's Sony.

"The government approval has then been used by Johnny to tell the Directorate general of Taxes that PT RII was no longer active in September 1987."

She said Johnny filed a lawsuit in the district court, saying that PT RII did not hold the right to Sony's brands.

Christine said the lawsuit was aimed at regaining the money he paid to her.

She lost all the legal battles from the district court level until the Supreme Court.

"We reported the matter to the House as Johnny failed to pay to the state his Rp 105 billion tax obligation," she said.

Christine said she also was planning to seek legal recourse through the ombudsman commission. (asa)