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Jakarta Post

'We want our money back', customers of Indosurya cooperative tell legislators

  • Riska Rahman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 12, 2020   /   04:29 pm
  'We want our money back', customers of Indosurya cooperative tell legislators An office of cooperative KSP Indosurya Cipta is pictured in this undated photo. Customers of savings and loans cooperative KSP Indosurya Cipta are desperately seeking help to get their money back after the cooperative failed to return funds worth Rp 10 trillion (US$671.8 million) to 8,000 customers. (Kontan/Carolus Agus Waluyo)

Customers of savings and loans cooperative KSP Indosurya Cipta are desperately seeking help to get their money back after the cooperative failed to return funds worth Rp 10 trillion (US$671.8 million) to 8,000 customers.

The customers, who attended a virtual hearing with House of Representatives Commission VI overseeing trade, investment and business competition on May 8, pleaded for help from the legislators.

“The money in the cooperative amounts to the life savings for most of us. Others also rely on the savings for their livelihood,” Irfan, one of the customers who attended the hearing, said. “All we want is for KSP Indosurya to return our money and for the government and the House to help us get our hard-earned money back.”

He said that many of the customers, who were mostly upper- and middle-income earners, were lured to “invest” their money in the cooperative.

Michelle, another customer, said that the cooperative used many means to persuade them to put their money in KSP Indosurya.

“They hired former marketing officers from reputable banks, assured us that it was safe to put our money in KSP Indosurya, which is a part of Indosurya Group that is under Financial Services Authority [OJK] supervision,” she said.

She went on to say that she and others fell for another move made by Henry Surya, the group’s chief executive officer and the son of Indosurya Group founder.

“He invited us to a gathering on his personal yacht to convince us to put our money in the cooperative,” she continued, adding that the move successfully enticed her and others who attended the gathering to put their money in the cooperative

Although it bore the same name and logo as KSP Indosurya, Indosurya Inti Finance issued a statement in February stating that the company was not related to the cooperative. The OJK also issued a statement in April echoing the company’s statement, saying that the cooperative was not legally related to financial holding Indosurya Group.

Indosurya Group is a financial conglomerate founded by Surya Effendi consisting of PT Indosurya Inti Finance as the main entity, securities firm PT Indosurya Bersinar Sekuritas, investment management firm PT Indosurya Asset Management, life insurer PT Asuransi Jiwa Indosurya Sukses and several secondary banks (BPR).

Despite the denial, a video company profile uploaded to YouTube in 2014 showed that KSP Indosurya was indeed a part of Indosurya Group.

Irfan said that the group was making organizational changes around February, right during the time when the cooperative’s customers started to come forward complaining that the cooperative had failed to return the customers’ funds totaling Rp 10 trillion citing “unfavorable economic conditions” that affected its financial performance.

“They changed their name to Indosurya Financial and excluded KSP Indosurya from the group,” he said.

Michelle, however, said that the deposit certificates were signed by Henry who, by the time she opened the deposit, was the CEO of the Indosurya Group after relinquishing his job as the cooperative’s chairman.

Despite the fact that the customers were putting their money into the cooperative, the customers admitted that they were not registered as members of the cooperative as they were not asked to pay for principal and mandatory savings as is commonly required in a cooperative.

Former employee Hengky said that they were not allowed to become members of the cooperative so that KSP Indosurya would not have to share its profits with them as members.

He also admitted during the hearing that he and his friends started to sense something was wrong in the cooperative just around the time of its default in February.

“Our web was suddenly inaccessible around late February. I was worried that our website would soon be taken down so my colleagues and I collected items of evidence from the website,” he said. “Soon enough, KSP Indosurya’s website vanished.”

The cooperative then fired all of its employees and did not pay them severance, he said.

Although the cooperative said in a letter to the customers that it would pay all of its obligations to its customers “when the situation improved”, KSP Indosurya then filed for a postponement of debt repayments through the Central Jakarta Commercial Court on March 6.

Cooperative customer Etty Sutjisari also filed a postponement of the debt repayment order against Henry of Indosurya Group on April 22 following the default in an effort to recover her money.

But Irfan and many other customers suggested that the cooperative should file for bankruptcy instead of a debt-repayment postponement.

KSP Indosurya lawyer Bosni Tambunan said in a written statement on Sunday that filing for debt service postponement was better than filing for bankruptcy.

“In the case of KSP Indosurya’s default to its customers, bankruptcy is an option that must be avoided because it could put them at a disadvantage,” he said, adding that the postponement could help the cooperative to repay its obligations.

The special crimes unit of the National Police Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim Polri) has also moved to investigate the case by naming two people suspects for fraud, embezzlement and violating the Banking Law, Kontan has reported.