Sunday, 22nd October 2017

British Company Blackmails Indonesian Govt $2 B, lawyer says

15th June 2012 | 3.394 Views
 Jakarta (ANTARA News) – British company Churchill Mining Plc is blackmailing the Indonesian government over an allegedly “improper unilateral decision to revoke the licenses” of allegedly world’s 7th largest coal mine in East Kalimantan, an Indonesian lawyer says.

“Churchill sues the Indonesian government $2 billion and we think that’s a blackmail,” said Didi Darmawan, lawyer of Indonesia’s East Kalimantan regency government, who spoke in a press conference here, Friday, accompanying Isran Noor, East Kutai regent.

Darmawan spoke to media on the recent move by the British company to file a claim of international arbitration against the Republic of Indonesia for “breaches of Indonesia’s obligations under the Bilateral Investment Treaty between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Indonesia (the "UK-Indonesia BIT")”.

Darmawan added that the claim has been filed at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes ("ICSID") in Washington D.C. relating to the Churchill’s dispute with the Indonesian government over the East Kutai Coal Project (“EKCP”).

He said that decision by ICSID would be acknowledged by over 120 countries members of this institution should it accept the claim and declare it the winner. “We’re however waiting whether or not ICSID would really accept the claim and process it,” he pointed out.

Churchill, according Darmawan, has breached various Indonesian laws and regulations resulting in the current disputes with the Indonesian government. Darmawan also spoke of questionable characters and integrity of the people behind Churchill’s operation in Indonesia.

“They resort to the familiar scenario of cornering the Indonesian government by accusing that the Indonesian government would always cheat on foreign investors,” Darmawan said, adding that some similar scenarios had been used by other certain foreign companies in the hope they could get financial compensation.

“Churchill is not a multinational corporation like British Petroleum, it’s only a small one and people can see why it is not listed in the primary London bourse,” Darmawan said.

East Kutai regent Isran Noor said that he would never surrender and keep on fighting to win the international legal battle. “No, we won’t surrender as we’re on the right position. Churchill has breached many laws and regulation in Indonesia,’ he said.

On why he has revoked the licenses, Isran emphasized that he had done that because the move was based on the decision of the reputable Indonesian Supreme Auditory Board (BPK) for concluding that the permits were fake ones.

 Churchill in its website on May 23, 2012 said it was actively moving forward with its international arbitration claim after it received written confirmation that its appeal in the Indonesian Supreme Court had failed.

The company revealed in April that notations on the register of the Supreme Court showed the court intended to reject the appeal. "We are disappointed in the written decisions confirming the rejection of our appeal,” said chairman David Quinlivan.

“We are underway with the International Arbitration claim against the Republic of Indonesia to seek a legitimate remedy for our shareholders and protect our rights as a foreign investor in Indonesia."

The company believes these actions are in direct breach of both Indonesia's investment laws and Indonesia's obligations under a number of international investment treaties.