Govt appoints ex-minister as commissioner

Govt appoints ex-minister as commissioner
, 4 June 2010

The government has appointed former justice and human rights minister Andi Mattalatta as its representative on PT Freeport Indonesia's board of commissioners, a measure that is hoped to improve communication between the state and the Papua-based company.

"We have submitted the name to Freeport and it will be announced at a shareholders meeting on June, 9," said secretary to the state enterprises minister Said Didu on Thursday.

Said refused to name the government representative, but a source in the ministry who requested anonymity confirmed that the former minister for the 2004-2009 period would become a commissioner at the subsidiary of the world's largest copper and gold producer Freeport McMoran. "Andi is appointed for his experience in legal matters," the source said.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Mustafa Abubakar said earlier this year that a government representative was necessary to fix "a communication gap" between the government and the company.

Said said the government representative would unveil s shroud of mystery surrounding the company's operations and serve as the government's voice inside the company.

"Usually, we just receive its payment obligations and never know anything about the business process," he said. In a statement sent to The Jakarta Post on Thursday, Freeport Indonesia said it would be pleased to receive Andi as the first-ever government-appointed commissioner on its board.

"Pak Andi Mattalatta has extensive experience in governmental affairs in Indonesia and expertise in law. It is our intention for PT Freeport Indonesia to maintain its strong performance and continue to be a major contributor to the Indonesian economy," the statement said.

Said said Freeport had been generous in offering up such a strategic position at the company to a state-appointed commissioner. "To tell you the truth, our stake is not big enough to occupy the position. We have to appreciate this as an effort by Freeport to be more transparent," he said.

Currently, Freeport-McMoran holds an 81.28 percent stake in the company, and PT Indocopper Investama and the government both hold 9.36 percent stakes each. Indocopper is entirely owned by Freeport. In the first quarter of this year, Freeport paid US$265 million in financial obligations to the government, comprising $92 million in corporate income tax, $31 million in employee income tax, regional taxes and other taxes and $67 million in royalties and $75 million in government dividends.