Riau Police Chief replaced, KPK to probe illegal logging

EoF News / 05 May 2008

PEKANBARU (EoF News)—Riau Police Chief Brig.- Gen. Sutjiptadi is one of eight provincial police chiefs whom reshuffled recently amid fears that his replacement is caused by pressure from parties resenting probe of illegal logging in the province.

Chief of Indonesian Police General Sutanto told the press that the replacement of Sutjiptadi is not a hint that the police give up the probe of Riau illegal logging cases allegedly involved regional officials as well as timber and pulp companies in the province, Tribun Pekanbaru reported Saturday (3 May 2008).

“Eradication of illegal logging in Riau still goes on. There is not a word of stop since it has been a commitment of the Indonesian Police. The war against illegal logging should be finished until zero,” said Sutanto in Jakarta as reported by Tribun Pekanbaru (3/5/2008).

Sutanto said there is not any demand from other parties to replace Sutjiptadi who promoted as Inspector General and appointed Governor of Police Academy in Central Java. Brig.- Gen. Hadiatmoko, currently Director V of Specific Crime of Indonesian Police Crime Intelligence.

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Sutjiptadi appointed as Riau Police Chief in the end of 2006 and he made breakthrough by massively conducting raid operations against companies and officials who allegedly involved in forest and environmental crimes which media dubbed as illegal logging cases.

There are 215 cases that the police probed involving hundreds of suspects including employees and executive of timber and pulp companies as well as regional officials. “Currently there are only 14 cases which unfinished, 11 out of them still wait permit of [Indonesian] President,” Sutjiptadi said as quoted as saying by Tribun Pekanbaru (3/5/2008).

Deny Indrayana, a Law expert of University of Gajah Mada, Yogyakarta, said that the inquiries of illegal logging cases in Riau would stop if the replacement of Sutjiptadi was driven by certain groups’ request.

Sutjiptadi said that he would hand over illegal logging cases which involved the government officials to Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) which would not need the green light from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to probe them.

Riau Terkini website reported yesterday (4/5/2008) that Sutjiptadi would submit the dossiers of corruption verdict on illegal logging cases to KPK today (5/5/2008), said Johan Budi, the KPK spokesperson.

“Allegations of corruption practice occur in process of issuing forest management licenses. These allegations that would be handled by KPK,” he told Riau Terkini website.

Meanwhile, Koran Tempo reported (2/5/2008) that the police have questioned some officials including three district heads. Riau Police Spokesperson, Zulkifli, said that the police only asked information and refused to elaborate the inquiry.