Watchdog urges 15 companies brought to justice

EoF News / 09 December 2011

EoF News (PEKANBARU) – Former Siak Distric Head whom is prosecuted in Corruption Crime Court here asked Prosecutors to present more key witnesses including Riau Governor Rusli Zainal and Kampar District Head, reports said.

“Riau Governor who issued BKT (Bagan Kerja Tahunan/ annual work chart) but  KPK prosecutors failed to present him to the court. BKT becomes basis of accusation for RKT [annual work plan] and RKU [general work plan] that implemented by company,” said Arwin AS, Siak District Head, at Pekanbaru Corruption Court on Wednesday,  Media Indonesia r eported (7/12).

Meanwhile, Indonesian Corruption Watch, a corruption watchdog,  said that 15 timber companies in Riau province should be prosecuted  for allegedly involving in forestry corruption along with 11-year imprisoned former Pelalawan District Head Azmun Jaafar.

“KPK [corruption eradication commission] needs to investigate further alleged involvement of 15 companies,” said ICW activist, Tama S. Langkun, Rakyatmerdeka online reported last week (3/12). Tama added that the 15 companies that cited in final decision by Jakarta  High Court could be brought to justice by examining their role in abusing authority in converting forest.

The 15 companies affiliated to APP and APRIL, two pulp giants operating in Riau province, which Azmun issued their logging licenses and inflicted the State to a loss of IDR 1.2 billion.

In Pekanbaru, Prosecutors in Corruption Court charged defendant  Arwin of a  5-year imprisonment  last week. In his defense this week, Arwin asked the Judges to present Riau Governor Rusli  Zainal and Kampar District Head Burhanuddin Husein as eyewitness for the corruption case he was convicted.

Arwin was indicted to issue illegally several logging licenses to APP and APRIL  affiliated companies for converting natural forest into pulpwood plantations during his tenure as District Head in 2002-2003.

In November last year the former Riau Forestry Service Head Asral Rachman was sentenced to 5 year in jail for corruption in issuing logging licenses for APP and APRIL timber suppliers in Siak District

Prosecutors of trial accused Arwin of issuing logging licenses for five timber suppliers, while he had no authority to do so. They are PT Seraya Sumber Lestari (16,875 hectares), PT National Timber and Forest Product (8,200),  PT Bina Daya Bintara (8,000), PT Rimba Mandau Lestari (6,400) and PT Balai Kayang Mandiri (21,450). PT Rimba Mandau Lestari  and PT Balai Kayang Mandiri are affiliated to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), and the rest are affiliated to Asian Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL).