Tue, 08 Feb 2000

KONI urges group to honor promises

JAKARTA (JP): National Sports Council (KONI) chairman Wismoyo Arismunandar urged the 1997 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games underwriting consortium to fulfill its obligation to pay the insurance premiums for Games medalists.

"The consortium promised that it would provide insurance bonuses to medalists at the Games. But it has failed to do so and KONI has the moral responsibility to take over the debt and pay for the insurance premiums," Wismoyo said after meeting with a representative of the consortium and members of KONI's internal audit team on Monday.

"We don't want athletes to be disappointed with the consortium's inability to pay the insurance premiums and have to cancel the bonuses," he said.

The chairman of KONI's internal audit team, I Putu Gde Ary Suta, said the council had urged the consortium to pay the premiums, but added that the consortium's representative had not yet confirmed whether it could do so.

"However, the consortium committed to pay the debt. This shows their responsibility. The consortium's debt has disrupted KONI's financial condition. As an internal auditor, I know that KONI has limited funds nowadays," he said.

According to an audited financial report by public accountant Richard Tanubrata, KONI has a Rp 2.7 billion (US$360,000) claim on the consortium. The money was used to pay for the annual premiums of athletes' insurance bonuses.

If the consortium fails to pay the claim, this figure will increase to Rp 4.5 billion by the end of the premium payment term in 2002.

Ary Suta said KONI would soon meet again with the consortium, and expressed hope the consortium's chairman would be able to attend.

The consortium, chaired by former president Soeharto's son Bambang Trihatmodjo, was appointed to raise funds to finance the annual event. It failed to raise the Rp 150 billion needed to stage the Games, and eventually the consortium was found to owe Rp 35 billion in reforestation funds from the State Secretary.

Ary Suta said the Rp 35 billion was not his responsibility as the consortium borrowed the money from the government.

Wismoyo said he was aware the consortium had failed to pay its debt to KONI because it was bankrupt. However, he said if the consortium could repay its debt, the money would be useful in funding the training of athletes for the Olympic Games in Sydney from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1.

KONI has collected Rp 2 billion from the Gelora Senayan Management Board and Rp 500 million surplus from the 1999 SEA Games budget to fund the Olympic training. Another Rp 4.9 billion from the National Development and Planning Board has not yet been received.

Wismoyo said the council's audited financial report would be unveiled at a KONI meeting on Feb. 10 and at the council's national workshop on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16. (yan)