Monday, January 12, 2009

Riau Forest Tragedy

Deforestation which covered by permission to make illegal logging in Riau increasingly widespread. The new cases, 22 months after in uncertainly status, Riau Police Department (Polda Riau) finally stop the investigation of the 13 illegal logging. This fact will be surely that opinion about forest destruction in Indonesia can not be separated from the three elements of society, elite officials, and businessmen. Really?

Behind in the FIGURE of 13
After 22 months in uncertainly status, Polda Riau finally stop the investigation of the 13 illegal logging. NGOs make a prepared to claim the justice.

Surprising news came from the Bumi Lancang Kuning (Riau), Monday, December 22, 2008. Afternoon, on the High Attorney General office of Riau, at Sudirman Street, in a meet the press together. Riau Regional Police Command issued a letter of Termination Investigation (SP3) on 13 of 14 companies allegedly involved in illegal logging in Riau.

Brigadier general Hadiatmoko (Head of Riau Regional Police) states that the termination was issued because of various legal requirements are not met. "We do SP3 on 13 companies because of lack of evidence, while the Ministry of the Environment stated there is no evidence destruction, while 13 companies have permission from the MoF (ministry of Forest). Two institutions that are our expert witnesses in the case of 13 companies," said Brigjen a head start serving Riau Regional Police on May 15, 2008.

Kapolda said that only one company that is a joint company PT Utama Jaya (RUJ) subsidiary PT Indah KIAT Pulp and Paper (IKPP) that does not have permission. "This company will continue penyidikannya us," Kapolda. said

With terminated investigation on the matter, the Polda Riau will also immediately restore the evidence as one million cubic meters of wood confiscated from illegal logging operations of that. "That does not have excess to the front. The evidence is in accordance with the regulations," Kapolda said.

As a flashback, in 2007, brigadier general Sutjiptadi as Kapolda at that time incentive to combating of illegal logging, hundreds suspects and thousands of cubic timber forest crime police also be confiscated. In fact, around February 2007 National Office Police also took over the logging case in Riau and set as the 14 company is illegal logging.

Fourteen wood company that is owned by two giant pulp, namely PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) and Indah KIAT Pulp and Paper (IKPP). Investigation stopped Polda Riau confess after consultation with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Depertemen if it does not infringe the company permission and to do environment destruction. and 13 companies of the group is IKPP such as, PT Arara Abadi, PT Bina Duta Laksana (BDL) PT Rimba Mandau Lestari (RML), PT Ruas Utama Jaya.

Meanwhile, from PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper, such as PT RAPP, PT Madukoro. PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestan (MPL), PT Nusa Prima Manunggal (NPM), PT Bukit Batubuh Sei Indah (BBSI). PT Citra Sumber Sejahtera (CSS), and PT Mitra Selaras Kembang (MKS).

In addition to 13 companies in tow, this case also dragged Riau Governor Rusli Zainal and 5 Regent was indicated to signed for permission to discharge for 13 companies of illegal logging. Even the involvement of the Governor of Riau and the Regent that have been submitted by Sutjiptadi at that time as Kapolda Riau, to Combating Corruption Commission (KPK).

Until this news was revealed, the Head of The Center for information and Law on National General Attorney (Kejaksaan Agung) Jasman Panjaitan still can not give a responses. But, Before, Youth Criminal Prosecutor General Abdul Hakim Ritonga said the receipt of the rejection 13 forestry companies because it is not complete.

Koran Tempo on December 31, 2008 edition writing, the decision issued SP3 have indeed made after a meeting between head of police, Attorney General, and Riau Governor Rusli Zainal. Rusli, when asked for confirmation, does not disprove. "I only called to present in the meeting that was attended by the Head of Police and the Attorney General," he said. "In that meeting, I told abut the threat of unemployment problem."

Regardless of that, three NGOs has identified that the irregularity in publishing that SP3. Them. Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), Walhi, and Telapak, there are suspected conspiracy behind the publishing SP3 cases of illegal logging allegations of 13 timber companies in Riau. Conspiracy allegedly made Kapolda Riau and Riau attorney involving two large companies, namely IKPP and RAPP. "SP3 discharge of 13 timber companies in Riau is a bad precedent for the efforts of law enforcement environment and eradication of illegal logging what ever been campaigned by government. Should be think there are some conspiracy behind the strong to out this SP3," said researcher ICW, Febridiansyah, in a press meet with Indonesian Institute Green in ICW office. Jakarta, Friday (26/12).

Head of the Department of Advocacy and Network of the National Executive Walhi M Teguh Surya added, since the beginning of the investigation is has strong indication about law enforcement, the police and prosecutors, would free 13 companies. Evidence, Polda Riau as investigators have been ignoring expert witness from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB). "The IPB explicitly states have damaged the environment and licensing error, which reinforce the findings Walhi before," he said. From various that anomaly, Unang from Telapak said that it is difficult to ward alleged intervention behind publishing SP3. "Is this related to the strong position RAPP and IKPP? Its hard to say there is no intervention behind the termination of investigation," he said.

In Riau, Forest Rescue Network of Riau (Jikalahari) expressed deep disappointment for the decision. Chairman Jikalahari Susanto Kurniawan says, as a reporter that case during the Polda Riau Lead of brigadier general (Pol) Sutjiptadi know that Timber Plantation (HTI) companies it has permission. However, the permit is has a problems because basic regent’s issued base on The Minister of Forestry regulated Tax 10.1/2000. In fact, the regent permit issued after the decision to pull out that with the Government Regulation No. 34/2002. " President Instructions also stressed that the turf that has a depth of more than 3 meters compulsory protected. Meanwhile, in Riau, permission HTI concessions that would violate a given in forest area in the turf that has a depth more than 3 meters," Susanto said.

He added, permit of HTI also may only be issued in the land which not productive, while in fact it is on the consent jungle with a lot of wood. PT RAPP also evident to groupping of timber logs as chip woods. That is tax fraud. Why do prosecutors and police do not base allegations to this issue, " Susanto said.

Jikalahari also suspect that the decision is out because there is intervention and the large companies involved in forest logging in Riau. "We rate the police in this case got a lot of intervention proselytizer by various parties, we see the SP3 and has planned to stopped. And this do by the two big companies (PT RAPP and PT Arara Abadi)," Susanto said.

He think that scenario have been planned for long by the company, Polda Riau, government, the council. "We see a paper companies such as RAPP during this so incentive to publish everywhere in the media and to lobby to the government, the council, this is a company owned by Sukanto Tanoto (richest people in Indonesia, red) as the effort to expand their HTI. Moreover, RAPP own lack of raw materials and threatening to layoff employees, this is only a games and strategy by PT RAPP, to get the raw materials, "he said.

That some rarity which strength Jikalahari to claim to the court for that decision. Claim made in the eight regent courts, where companies indicated involved in the illegal logging operations. "We are still coordinating with other organizations to gather evidence to bring to court this case," Susanto said.

Separately, member of the House of Representatives from Commission III from Riau, Azlaini Agus, also feels surprisingly for the rejection prosecutors to expert testimony from Farm Institue of Bogor (IPB) and Gadjah Mada University on illegal logging and environmental devastation in Riau. "Why the prosecutor in the case has of double standards. Prosecutor should proceed this case to the court let the judge cut off, said Aziaini who is also a lecturer of law in Riau Islamic University.

Azlaini suspicious that have scenarios to this SP3. He said not long time before some of timber company in Riau conduct a meeting with Vice President Jusuf Kalla. In that meeting, the PT RAPP will make termination of employment (PHK) of thousands of employees, because of lack of raw materials. In fact, Azlaini added the issue that is not because of raw material, but more on the global crisis.

"And in meeting some of companies and government agencies with the Governor of Riau has not been this long, the governor also wanted the case of illegal logging is stopped. Yes indeed, if the governor also be involved," Azlaini said.

He mentions that layoff wave that occurred in the two paper mills in Riau, PT RAPP and PT IKPP, solely from impact of current global crisis, not because of lack of raw materials. "If the shortage of raw materials, it should first since the company was taking steps to layoff their employees. So the threat to lay off by RAPP as the only oppression to the government for that cases of illegal logging stopped. And now that case has stopped. We very disappointed, " Azlaini said.

In Jakarta, the Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia Elfian Effendi said, Polda Riau and Riau attorney should explain to the public the basics of publishing SP3. Transparency important that the public does not interpret the decision by the various perspectives.

He said, the public need open information for the pro and contra in this case does not mix between the opinions, advocacy, and a legal basis of publishing SP3. The case also could be a precedent for law enforcement in the run similar operations in other regions.

For the decision which making by institutions, Head of the Police General of the Republic of Indonesia Bambang Hendarso Danuri invite the parties who are not satisfied on the termination of the case to the efforts of law. "SP3 is not a legal process has been completed," Bambang said. "Parties that have not satisfied please submit a claim to the court."

Separately, Director of PT RAPP Rudi Fajar, expressed gratitude to the brave step of the Polda Riau. With SP3 the decision, said Rudi, RAPP feel relieved. Is not expected soon, one million cubic meters of timber a limited by police line will be used again. We expect raw material that we can immediately take the raw material for production of the factory. We also hope that, after the case ended, appear a legal certainty so that we can work as optimally to back up dropping during this, "said Rudi.

Chairman of the Association of Forest Region Riau Endro Siswoko suggested, should the government can ease the burden of the Riau timbers which dropped for two years before the decision SP3.

No comments: