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One Man's House is Another Man's Temple

Hundreds of Petitenget Villagers Demand Man and His Family Vacate Their Bali Home.

(1/23/2010) Radar Bali reports a story that again underlines the tangled web of property deals in Bali, affecting both locals and foreign nationals alike.

Hundreds of local citizens from the Petitenget area near Seminyak in Bali marched last week on the home of Irwandi Ibrahim at Jalan Klecung No. 16, Uma Alas, Kerobokan Kelod. Dressed in traditional Balinese garb, the citizens claimed that Ibrahim's home stands on village land in a pelaba pura tract set aside specifically for religious use. The villagers insist they hold a legal certificate for the land and want Ibrahim, originally from Sumatra, and his family to vacate the property.

Tens of security personnel from the Badung Police precinct were on hand during the protest to maintain public order. Village represents read their demand that Ibrahim vacate the subject parcel of land before January 25, 2010. The villages base their demand on the fact that they had purchased the land from a colleague of Ibrahim, Bayu Suka Candra.

While the protest was underway, an officer of the Petitenget Temple, Made Sudiana, told the press that the village unit had already won their case on the District Court level in Denpasar and, on that basis, wants Ibrahim to surrender the property.

Irwandi, who is an Indonesian national, together with his American wife and two children, occupy a 500 square meter parcel of land sold by Bayu Suka Candra to the local village in 2009.

Based on their land certificate the village was able to prevail in a land dispute case before the Denpasar Court. Said Sudiana: "Now, the land certificate is in the name of the Petitenget temple. With the certificate in our hands, the owner of the house must move."

Irwandi, who was interviewed by Radar Bali following the protest, said that he is in the process of appealing the decision of the Denpasar Court, seeking to prove his ownership of the small plot of land valued at Rp. 2 billion (US$200,000). "The decision is not final, so we do not want to move before the appeal process is over," said Irwandi who is the former owner of a bar in Bali.

Irwandi claims he is the victim of trickery by Bayu Suka Candra, who he describes as a "loan shark."

"I was conned by Bayu," said Ibrahim. "Because of this, the safety of my family is under threat."

At one time Ibrahim and Bayu were said to be close friends and associates. Irwandi, who needed funds for his bar venture, borrowed Rp. 200 million (US$20,000) from Bayu in 2005. The certificate on the contested piece of land was given to Bayu as collateral for the loan. Ibrahim told the press, "I paid the entire loan back to Bayu on time."

Ibrahim claims that Bayu sold the land to the local villagers, explaining: "I don't know why he sold my land to the village. This was done without my knowledge or the knowledge of my family."

Efforts by Ibrahim to track down Bayu have proven unsuccessful.