Indonesia’s Palm Oil Firm Tri Bakti Sarimas Asks For Legal Protection From Authority

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Durian. Indonesia’s private agriculture company Tri Bakti Sarimas or TBS has sent letters to related authorities in Indonesia, including the National Police, the Attorney General, the President and the House of Representatives, asking for legal protections due to insecure circumstances that occurred after a “problematic” auction of its palm oil plantation’s assets in December last year, a legal attorney confirmed on Thursday, 8 Feb. 2024.

As reported earlier, thousands of TBS’ employees have been recently worrying about their future and due to police’ actions, questioning some employees and declaring some of them as suspects for stealing and illegal activities allegations, after the auction.

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In their letters to authorities for legal protections plea, legal team of TBS explained the chronology of what the auction of the company’s assets, that was conducted by Pekanbaru’s State Assets and Auction Services or KPKNL, as requested by Indonesia’s largest lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia or BRI on 28 Dec. 2023.

The auction was conducted while TBS had been communicating with the bank to find an ease method to pay its mortgage to BRI. BRI valued TBS’s assets in the form of 14 area of lands, located in Kuantan Sengingi or Kuansing Regency in Riau, with total of 17,600 hectares as much as 1.9 trillion rupiah or about 121.1 billion US dollar, which is bellow the company’s valuation of the assets in December 2022 of about 2.5 trillion rupiah.

According to the letter to the authority that was seen by the Big Durian, the legal team said that BRI did not count the good intention of their client, TBS, that had been in correspondence with the lender for mortgage restructuring, instead ordering KPKNL Pekanbaru to hold an auction to sell the plantation firm’s assets.

Another plantation company Karya Tama Bhakti Mulia or KTBM, a subsidiary of Singapore’s firm First Resources, won the e-auction on 28 Dec. 2023, as announced by the parent company on 5 Jan. 2024.

TBS has launched its legal battle by filing two legal suits in two separate courts – State Administrative Court and the Central Jakarta District Court – asking for the abortion of the action as well as the responsibility of BRI and related parties for the “unusual” action.

Andry Christian, a lawyer with TBS’ legal team told the Big Durian that a few days ago, several person had tried to enter TBS’s plantation area in Kuansing and done illegal activities.

“It’s suspected that they were from the winner of the auction,” Andry said when asked further regarding those people.

Due to the current uncomfortable circumstances, TBS through its legal team ask authority for legal protections towards its assets and employees accordingly under the Indonesian law, especially to the police and the state attorneys.

“Our clients ask for protection from all institutionsc under the Indonesian National Police,” one of the message in the letter stated.

TBS currently has about 2,500 employees and its daily operations in the palm oil plantation in Kuansing are running as usual. (***)

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