Heru Andriyanto & Agus Triyono
A long-running rivalry between the eldest daughter of the late President Suharto and media mogul Hary Tanoesoedibjo over the ownership of a television station took another turn on Thursday when a Jakarta court ruled in her favor.
The court gave Siti “Tutut” Hardiyanti Rukmana control of the television station, previously known as Televisi Pendidikan Indonesia but since renamed MNC TV, and awarded her Rp 680 billion ($78 million) in damages.
In the civil case filed by Tutut, the judges ruled that a March 18, 2005, extraordinary shareholders’ meeting called by Hary’s company, Berkah Karya Bersama, was unlawful. That voided all of its decisions, including the takeover of a majority stake in the television station by Hary.
“We declare that all the things bound by the extraordinary shareholders’ meeting held by Berkah Karya Bersama as void and unlawful and order TPI be returned to what it was before the shareholders’ meeting,” presiding judge Tjokorda Rae Suamba said.
The other defendant in the case is the company Sarana Rekatama Dinamika, which from 2000 to 2008 was in charge of providing online corporate registration services for the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.
Sarana, founded by Hary’s brother, Hartono Tanoesoedibjo, was sued by Tutut for blocking access to the online system when she tried to register TPI in her name. “The second defendant has committed an illegal blockade,” the judge said of Sarana.
The ruling ordered Berkah and Sarana to pay Rp 680 billion in damages and also 6 percent in interest since the lawsuit was registered in June 2010.
The panel of judges said there was evidence the blocking of the registration process was carried out by Sarana, not the authorized government officials.
Tutut says she appointed Berkah in 2002 to help her deal with debts at the station. She claims the company misused her appointment letter to act as her representative and call for the 2005 extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to take over a 75 percent stake in TPI.
Tutut had held her own shareholders’ meeting a day earlier.
The verdict declared the Berkah-led meeting as unlawful because Tutut had already revoked Berkah’s appointment letter dated July 3, 2003.
“The court declares the March 17, 2005, shareholders’ meeting as lawful,” said the judge, referring to the meeting held by Tutut.
The judges also ordered the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights to accept registration based on the March 17 shareholders’ meeting, not on the meeting of the following day.
The dual ownership of TPI started in 2002 when Tutut came to Hary asking for help to settle her debt. in exchange for which she agreed to surrender 70 percent of her stake in TPI to Berkah. However, Tutut was later reportedly angered by Hary’s plan to sell a piece of land inside the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah recreational park founded by Tutut’s mother in an attempt to improve TPI’s financial position.
Hary has said his camp had injected up to $55 million in cash into TPI in return for a 75 percent share, with Tutut keeping the remainder. During the dispute, Hary, the chief executive of media giant Media Nusantara Citra, changed the channel’s name to MNC TV.
Berkah attorney Andi Simangunsong said he would appeal the ruling. “It has been revealed clearly in court that Berkah injected more than $55 million, meaning that it has shares. That money was spent to improve the channel’s position,” he said.