Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) has found PT Netway Utama guilty of unlawful conduct in securing a state-funded project and fined the information and technology consultancy firm Rp 1 billion (around US$900,000) on Wednesday.
The KPPU is the state-sanctioned antimonopoly body mandated mainly to ensure healthy business practices.
The project in question involved the procurement of a computerized customer information system (CIS-RISI) for the state electricity utility (PLN)'s Jakarta and Tangerang power distribution unit. Netway was chosen as the sole provider for the project.
A statement from the commission, received by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, states that Netway was guilty of violating Article 19A of the 1999 Business Competition Law, while PLN violated Article 19D.
Article 19A focuses on violations that limit access to a commercial opportunity, while Article 19D is concerned with discriminatory treatment against potential suppliers
The CIS-RISI project was initiated by the ITB Polytechnic in the 1990s, but it was then subcontracted to PT Netway Utama.
Suspicions about collusion arose when it became known that the head of the ITB Polytechnic at the time, Gani Abdul Gani, was also the president director of Netway.
The total project was worth some Rp 137 billion.
The KPPU began to investigate the case in February this year and reached a preliminary conclusion that PLN had only considered Netway for the project to the exclusion of other potential suppliers.
However, no penalties were imposed on PLN.
The KPPU also found that Netway did not meet the standards officially set by PLN.
Based on its initial findings, the KPPU then established a committee to further investigate the case. The second stage of the investigation was carried out between April 5 and June 30, with the committee taking witness testimony under oath.
The committee then carried out a third round of investigations between July 3 and Aug. 11 before finally handing down its ruling Wednesday.
One of the assessors, Syamsul Maarif, said he was the only member of the committee who had disagreed with the majority.
He argued that those to blame were PLN and its local Jakarta/Tangerang unit as it was they who had selected Netway.