Wed, 24 Mar 1999

Tanri Abeng dismisses head of state general insurance firm

JAKARTA (JP): The government has dismissed Amir Imam Poero as president of state-owned general insurance firm PT Asuransi Jasa Indonesia (Jasindo), a government source said on Tuesday.

"The letter of dismissal was signed by State Minister of the Empowerment of State Enterprises Tanri Abeng on Monday," the source told The Jakarta Post.

Sofyan Djalil, a staff member in Tanri's office, confirmed the dismissal, saying Amir's term at Jasindo had come to an end.

He told the Post Amir would be replaced by Munir Sjamsudin, chairman of the Indonesian Insurance Council.

The government source, however, said Amir was facing questioning by the Attorney General's Office over a Rp 2 trillion commercial paper transaction in 1997 between Jasindo and issuer PT Medco Central Asia, a unit of the Medco business group controlled by businessman Arifin Panigoro.

Medco issued 27 commercial papers in July 1997, one of which was bought by Jasindo, one of the country's largest general insurance companies.

Medco was unable to pay its debts, citing the regional monetary crisis. However, the Attorney General's Office wants to question Amir over possible corruption in the transaction, according to the source.

Arifin, who has been accused of funding student demonstrations to topple the government, was questioned by the Attorney General's Office late last year over the commercial paper transaction.

A senior official at the State Comptroller Agency, however, said the commercial paper transaction was pure business and had nothing to do with corruption.

Arifin said last year the charges were baseless and the public would get the impression the charges were "political".

Jasindo is one of the state-owned companies scheduled to be restructured by the government because of its low profitability, lack of international ties and poor management skills.

The government is expected to release its restructuring plan for the company by the end of this year. The plan reportedly will include possible mergers and joint ventures with international firms.

The restructuring program is expected to result in the reduced dependence of state-owned firms on the public sector market. (rei)