Thu, 06 Mar 2003

Lippo again

I'm really deeply concerned over media reports on Bank Lippo. There are several reasons for this concern.

First, the government has been tardy with its reaction even though the Bank Lippo issue has become the talk of the town for over two months. The mass media have published unfavorable comments from competent parties, such as the state minister of state enterprises, the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA), the Capital Market Supervisory Board (Bapepam), the Jakarta Stock Exchange, the House of Representatives (DPR), the Association of Accountants, legal consultants, community investors and so forth.

Unfortunately, these comments have yet to prompt the government to take action. It seems the government is more interested in involving itself in a discourse over this matter rather than finding a real solution.

Second, the fines imposed by the stock exchange and monetary authorities on the Lippo Group have failed to be a deterrent for this group. Why? Perhaps, the fines are smaller in amount than the proceeds the group can rake in. That's why although this group has been subjected to fine impositions several times, it will continue to engage itself in an activity which will again make it subject to another fine.

Third, Lin Che Wei, an economic observer dubbed the most popular analyst by a leading business magazine, has lashed out at Bank Lippo in an attempt to prevent the looting of trillions of rupiah of state assets but has been accused by a commissioner of Bank Lippo for smearing the bank's reputation.

In view of this concern, the Consortium for Public Information Transparency (KUTIP) would like to suggest the following:

First, the stern warning that the Jakarta Stock Exchange has issued to Bank Lippo is not materially sufficient and must be followed by Bapepam's imposition of a fine the amount of which must be bigger than the profit or the potential profit that the Riady family has collected or will collect.

Second, the Attorney General's Office, the National Police chief and legal agencies must concentrate on major cases such as the report made by the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) to the Attorney General's Office about Bank Lippo.

Third, it is now time for the people to support and encourage "white" observers while at the same time monitoring the activities of "black" business tycoons.

HANS SUTA WIDHYA Executive Director of KUTIP Jakarta