Wednesday, July 29, 2009

SBY-Boediono team grilled over campaign funds

The Election Monitoring Body (Bawaslu) grilled SBY-Boediono's campaign team over alleged violation of campaign financing rules. reported today that Djoko Suyanto (deputy chairman of campaign team, also president commissioner of coal giant PT Adaro Energy Tbk), Amir Syamsyuddin (legal advisor), and Garibaldi Boy Thohir (treasurer of SBY-Boediono campaign team, who is also CEO of PT Adaro Energy Tbk) arrived at Bawaslu office on 13.45 reportedly to clarify the report filed by Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW).
Bawaslu told reporters after the meeting that the monitory body asked SBY-Boediono team to clarify the alleged violation of Presidential Election Law on campaign financing.
Bawaslu member Wirdyaningsih said the main target of clarification is donation from Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN), a bank controlled by Texas Pacific Group, at the amount of Rp3 billion (US$300,000).
"Do they know that the BTPN is controlled by foreign parties," Wirdyaningsih said.
According to Wirdyaningsih, Article 103 point 1 of Law No. 42 forbids president candidate to receive donation from "foreign parties". If found guilty, SBY-Boediono could be jailed for 12-48 months and fines three times Rp3 billion.
But Bawaslu has yet to make final conclusion about the donations. Bawaslu will first ask for clarification from economists and experts.
What SBY-Boediono team says?
The team believes the companies mentioned by ICW in the report do not fall into the definition of "foreign investment company". Listed companies like BTPN shall be regulated by Capital Market Law. Under the capital market law, there is no differentiation between Indonesian or foreign shareholders.
The problem, explanation of Article 103 Point 1 (a) of Law No. 42 says..."foreign parties' in this law means foreigners, foreign private enterprises, including private companies in Indonesia which shares controlled by foreign parties.
Well, looks like the legal battle will be on definition of "foreign parties". BTPN is a legal entity registered in Indonesia. But its true that the shares are majority controlled by foreign investors. What about other companies, especially those listed at stock market? Bumi Resources, for example, is currently controlled by foreign investors almost 75%. If all companies controlled by foreign investors in the stock market fall into this category of violation, then whoever got donation from such companies would end up in jail. Is it possible that the "elected" president and vice president would end up in jail for two years?
Lesson learnt? You have to be careful when giving financial contribution to political activism. And the candidates shall scrutinize thoroughly the financial contributions.




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