Curators to bargain on fees in Telkomsel bankruptcy case
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Curators handling the high-profile case involving PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) said that their Rp 146.8 billion (US$15.1 million) service fee — which both parties involved in the case have refused to pay — was actually open to negotiation.
Telkomsel has been embroiled in a bankruptcy lawsuit filed by PT Prima Jaya Informatika, a SIM card and voucher distributor. The Central Jakarta Commercial Court granted the suit, and declared Telkomsel bankrupt for not repaying a Rp 5.3 billion debt to Prima.
Following the ruling by the commercial court, Telkomsel filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. The court granted the appeal, thereby overturning the bankruptcy verdict.
In spite of the verdict, the Central Jakarta Commercial Court has ordered Telkomsel and Prima to share in equal parts the Rp 293.6 billion curators’ fee, leaving each side to pay Rp 146.8 billion.
The overall fee is equal to 0.5 percent of Telkomsel’s total assets, which amount to Rp 58.7 trillion. The calculation is based on a 1998 Law and Human Rights Ministry decree.
Telkomsel has refused to pay the curators’ fee, saying that the commercial court should not have set the fee. It also noted that the determination of the fee should be based on the revised 2013 Law and Human Rights Ministry decree, which states that curators’ fees are based on working hours rather than a percentage of assets.
Similarly, Prima has protested to paying the fee. Kanta Cahya, Prima’s lawyer, said it was unfair that the company had to pay a fee based on Telkomsel’s sizable assets. “We have not even received payments for what we billed Telkomsel,” he said.
He added that Prima had filed an appeal on the ruling by the Supreme Court, saying the firm had secured new and incriminating evidence against Telkomsel.
“We hope that the [payment of the] curators’ fee can be postponed until a decision has been made regarding the appeal,” he said.
However, Feri Samad, legal curator in the bankruptcy case, said that both Telkomsel and Prima could negotiate the fees to be paid. Feri was one of three curators handling the case.
He added that although the court had the power to set the fee, it was entirely up to the curators to collect the money.
“The fee, after all, is payment for our services,” he said.
He added that the bargaining of fees was “extremely common” and had occurred in many cases.
He said that, in some cases, curators received payments amounting to only one-fourth of a set fee.
“It is not about the amount, but about following legal procedures,” he told The Jakarta Post.
Meanwhile, Nonot Harsono, a commissioner at the Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Board (BRTI), said that the fee should be expunged, given that the Supreme Court had overturned the ruling. “The fee is also exorbitant,” he said.
— JP/Mariel Grazella