Wed, 14 Jun 2000

Minister Kwik questions Bapepam on Lippo e-Net

JAKARTA (JP): Coordinating Minister for Economy, Finance and Industry Kwik Kian Gie has sent a letter to chairman of Capital Market Supervisory Agency (Bapepam) Herwidayatmo to question the investigation progress into PT Lippo e-Net, which has allegedly provided misleading information to the public.

In his official letter dated May 29, Kwik also asked Bapepam to allow his ministry to help the investigation process.

"In order to establish a fair resolution to the (Lippo e-Net) investigation, as demanded by the public, we request Bapepam to provide all the data and collected information about Lippo e-Net to us," the letter said.

The letter was made available by Bapepam to capital market journalists on Tuesday.

Herwidayatmo said that he then consulted with Minister of Finance Bambang Sudibyo, who responded that there was no need for Bapepam to report to Kwik.

"Bapepam is to report to the Minister of Finance, and that should be enough," Herwidayatmo quoted Bambang as saying.

Herwidayatmo denied that Kwik's letter would mean an intervention by Bapepam, saying, "Anybody can send me a letter. But I have procedures to follow."

He said his superior was the Minister of Finance, so he had to abide by the commands of Bambang, not Kwik.

"If Bambang told me to report to Kwik about the Lippo e-Net investigation, of course I would do that," he said adding that Bambang was well aware that the investigation was still underway and it still needed time to complete.

Equity analysts charge Herwidayatmo with discriminatory actions, arguing that he had been taking prompt and stern measures against violators of capital market regulations, but failed to do so with Lippo e-Net.

"There is a huge curiosity in the market about why Bapepam is so harsh with all the other companies, but not with those related with Lippo Group," one analyst told The Jakarta Post on the basis of anonymity.

Bapepam recently imposed a total of Rp 4.2 billion in fines on nine companies for not disclosing important information to the public and for undertaking business actions which harmed the interests of minority shareholders.

"Bapepam is quick to take actions against violations made by certain companies, but not so against certain others," an analyst with a state owned securities company said.

Still another analyst claimed that Bapepam should impose the fines on the people who manage the company, instead of the company as an institution.

"The management are the parties who breach the regulation, usually for the sake and benefit of the majority shareholders. Imposing fines on the company would just bring more disadvantages to minority shareholders," he said. (udi)