Subject: Mystery Over Jakarta Firm and E. Timor Arms Deal
August 05, 2009
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
Mystery Over Jakarta Firm and E. Timor Arms Deal
Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono and an Armed Forces spokesman on Tuesday both professed to have no information on a report that an Indonesian company had been contracted to supply neighboring East Timor with police and army equipment.
Juwono said he had not yet received any information on the reported multimillion-dollar contract secretly awarded to a Jakarta-based company to supply the equipment to the East Timorese army and police.
"Maybe because all the arms are for police, not the military," he said.
Documents obtained by Melbourne-based newspaper The Age showed that Dili had approved a July 7 request by PT Sahabat Triguna Kesatria for advance payment of half of its 3.5 million Australian dollar ($2.9 million) equipment contract.
The report said that STK was awarded the deal, without going through an open international tender, to supply equipment such as bulletproof vests, tear gas grenades, rubber bullet rifles and pepper spray.
Some of the equipment were purchased from other countries, including the United States. The report said that the company has close ties with the Indonesian security agencies.
STK, a company providing security services that has its headquarters in Tebet, South Jakarta, is listed as a member of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).
Juwono told the Jakarta Globe that he saw no problem with an Indonesian company making such arms deals as long as it was legal.
"I think, as long as [STK] possesses the legal license for such activity, I don't think it is a problem," he said.
Military spokesman Air Vice Marshal Sagom Tamboen said he had heard of the report but had no further information or details.
"As long as they [companies] follow the regulations, why should we forbid them?" Tamboen said, adding that he believed there were no links between STK or the arms deal with the military.
Yulius Harun, a retired Army colonel once involved in the Army's business reforms in 2002, is listed as the person responsible for the company.
A female STK employee declined to confirm or deny the contract with East Timor and said that Yulius could not be immediately reached for comment.