Bakrie firms fined in ‘missing funds’ case

The Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) has finally levied its “heaviest sanctions” on four publicly-listed companies for publishing false information on the amount of their deposits at a local bank.

Three companies owned by the Bakrie Group – holding company PT Bakrie and Brothers Tbk (BNBR), subsidiary PT Bakrie Sumatra Plantations Tbk (UNSP) and affiliated unit PT Energi Mega Persada Tbk (ENRG) – and unaffiliated oil and gas firm PT Benakat Petroleum Energy Tbk (BIPI) must pay the fines by Aug. 6, IDX president Ito Warsito said in Jakarta on Thursday.

The penalties were given because the companies repeatedly failed to meet deadlines to provide documentation to clarify the status of their deposits, he added.

“We gave the four companies two days [to comply] on Tuesday, but the documents that were provided were still unsatisfactory, so we imposed the heaviest sanctions possible under Indonesia Stock Exchange regulations,” Ito said, citing Rp 500 million (US$55,000) penalties for each company and a third-degree warning letter as the “heaviest sanctions”.

“We will also send a report to Bapepam-LK (the Capital Market and Financial Institutions Supervisory Agency) regarding this matter, but the companies can demand an appeal for the sanctions,” Warsito added.

The first quarter financial reports of the four companies provide figures for time deposits stored in PT Bank Capital Tbk (BACA) that differ from figures recorded in Bank Capital’s first quarter financial report.

The IDX began its probe last week after it discovered “missing funds” in deposit accounts in Bank Capital. The three Bakrie companies reported that they had time deposits worth Rp 9.05 trillion in the bank in their first quarter financial reports. However, Bank Capital recorded third party deposits of only Rp 2.69 trillion in the first quarter.

Benakat Petroleum Energy had a similar case. Benakat director Ferdy Yustianto said the company reported time deposits of Rp 1.48 trillion at Bank Capital in its first quarter financial balance sheet.

“The report contained an error because the funds were supposedly recorded as an equity investment, not time deposits,” he said.

“We are ready to face sanctions, if any,” Benakat commissioner Erry Firmansyah said Tuesday.

Bakrie officials were not available to comment.

Officials at Bank Capital and the country’s central bank previously announced that Bank Capital had not miscounted. “We have provided accurate financial reports to the Indonesia stock exchange,” said Bank Capital corporate secretary, Isbandiono Subadi.

Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo previously called on the central bank to immediately investigate widely published reports on the missing funds. He said that misleading information should be investigated so that people would not lose trust in the publicly-held companies.

Bapepam said it would soon conduct its own investigation on the alleged missing funds. Public accountants hired by those four companies would be soon summoned to clarify the status of their deposits in Bank Capital, the agency’s senior executive has said.

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