Investigating Officials Roles in PCR Business
Several state officials and conglomerates were allegedly involved in the COVID-19 test business, from test facilities to sample testing laboratories. The Tempo Magazine report mentioned Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan and Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir. Both are shareholders of PT Genomik Solidaritas Indonesia, the GSI Lab polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test laboratory manager.
Luhut's companies PT Toba Sejahtra and PT Toba Bumi Energi own 242 of GSI's 2,969 shares, while the Adaro Bangun Energi Foundation – affiliated with Erick Thohir's family – owns 485 shares. Other shareholders are Yayasan Indika Untuk Indonesia, affiliated with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Chairman Arsjad Rasyid, and Northstar Bakti Persada Foundation, which is associated with venture capital business investor Patrick Walujo.
In response to this news, Special Staff to SOEs Minister Arya Sinulingga said that Erick is no longer involved in the Adaro Foundation. "After all, this is a humanitarian foundation, and his shares are only six percent," Arya said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Spokesperson for the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment Jodi Mahardi, said Luhut was invited by his fellow from the Indika Group, Adaro, Northstar, who have the initiative to help provide COVID-19 tests with large capacities. "Because this was an issue during the early days of the pandemic," he said. GSI is a social entrepreneurship company, so it does not offer dividends or other benefits to shareholders. GSI still earns profits in running its business, but the profits are used to provide free COVID-19 tests to the public. One example, GSI provides 60,000 free swab tests for the Wisma Atlet COVID-19 Emergency Hospital.