Ministry Clarifies Issue on PCR Business, GSI, and Luhut's Involvement
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment clarified the alleged involvement of Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan in the country’s polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test business.
The November 1, 2021 edition of Tempo Magazine reported that two companies affiliated with Luhut, PT Toba Sejahtra and PT Tiba Bumi Energi, were listed as holding shares in PT Genomik Solidaritas Indonesia (GSI), a firm managing GSI Lab for PCR testing which has five branches in Jakarta.
The Coordinating Ministry’s Deputy for Investment and Mining, Septian Hario Seto, explained that GSI was established as a social entrepreneurship firm and not aimed at seeking profit for shareholders as the country was facing problems providing Covid-19 tests in the early days of the pandemic in 2020.
“There is a rule that 51 percent of profits must be for social purposes. So there is no distribution of profits such as dividends to shareholders until now. Other profits are used to reinvest in equipment or other laboratory equipment (one of which is for genome sequencing),” said Seto in a written statement, Monday, November 8.
Seto also said Luhut's involvement at GSI was due to an invitation from the latter’s colleague who owns shares and that Luhut did not have control over PT Toba Sejahtera and PT Toba Bumi Energi because the share ownership was below 10 percent.
Seto admitted that he was not careful in reminding Luhut regarding the potential conflict of interest with share ownership in PT GSI. “Besides, Pak Luhut was appointed the coordinator of PPKM Java Bali in July 2021, long after the establishment of GSI,” he added.
Regarding the government's policy on PCR tests as a flight requirement, Seto confirmed that it was his proposal with the team following an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission.
“As for the price of PCR, Pak Luhut has no authority to decide it. The evaluations are carried out periodically by the Health Ministry and BPKP (the Development Finance Comptroller),” he said.