12 forestry companies, 5 plantations fail in fires prevention audit

EoF News / 11 October 2014

EoF News (PEKANBARU) – National Joint Team from some Government agencies revealed that 17 timber and plantation companies in Riau province failed to perform Compliance Audit in preventing forest and land fires, a joint inter-department task force said Friday.

A press conference to announce the results of the Compliance Audit held in Jakarta where several governmental agencies participated in this action that started on 1 July and ended on 25 August 2014. Riau Province is chosen by the government to hold such an audit due to highest rate occurrence of fire hotspots in the country in January-March 2014, said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the chairman of UKP4 (Presidential unit for supervising development).

The National Joint Team for Audit Compliance to Forest Fires Prevention consists of Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture, UKP4 the Presidential Unit for Supervising Development, and REDD+ Organizing Agency.

17 firms that classified failing in the audit consist of three categories of judgment namely, extremely noncompliant, noncompliant, and less compliant. One company is PT Sumatera Riang Lestari block III is judged as the extremely noncompliant due to most of areas allocated to pulpwood plantation raged by fires.  PT SRL is timber supplier of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL).

The companies are audited in their compliance to provide procedure in mitigating forest firest, to facilitate fire extinguisher equipment, and aspects of biophysics and socio-community, said Kuntoro. This audit results will be submitted to relevant authorities and “will be substances in the near future, there will be guidance and supervision, so they will not repeat any longer,” Kuntoro said.

There are 6 districts/city that audited by the joint team, namely Bengkalis, Siak, Indragiri Hilir, Rokan Hilir, Kepulauan Meranti districts and Dumai city.

Out of six districts/city that audited, one district is compliant, another one is less compliant and other four are less compliant.

There are five palm oil plantations that categorized as noncompliant. Out of 12 forestry companies that audited, one firm is very noncompliant, 10 companies are noncompliant and another one is less compliant.

The 12 timber suppliers that failed in the audit are PT. SRL Blok V (APRIL), PT. AA (APP), PT. SPA (APP),  PT. RUJ (APP), PT. SPM (APP), PT. SRL Blok IV (APRIL), PT. RRL (unknown), PT. SG (APP), PT. SSL (APRIL), PT. SRL Blok III (APRIL), PT DRT (HPH concession), PT. NSP (Sago plantation, Sampoerna), and five palm oil plantations, PT. BNS, PT. JP, PT. ME, PT. TFDI, and PT. SAM.

A deputy at Ministry of Environment told media that they will take stern actions from administrative sanctions to revoke licenses of companies if some warnings taken, but they are still disobedient and failed to prevent forest fires.

In August, the Ministry of Environment (MoE) has named three companies suspects of forest and land fires that hit Riau in February-March this year. There are three companies proceeded to legal process after the investigators probed among 26 companies involved in 29 forest fire cases in Riau province.  The three companies are PT. TFDI and PT TKWL (oil palm plantations) in Siak District and a pulpwood supplier, PT. SGP (affiliated to APP/SMG) in Dumai District.

In 2013, eight companies named suspects for fires, where one of them is penalized by Pangkalan Kerinci district court and found guilty. There are four pulpwood suppliers that associated to APP/SMG and APRIL/RGE named suspects but there are no prosecution yet.