APRIL supplier tried for environmental damage loss

EoF News / 13 February 2014

EoF News (PEKANBARU) - A civil code trial on alleged pollution and environmental damage that involved one supplier of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) belonging to tycoon Sukanto Tanoto’s Royal Golden Eagle group took place at the Pekanbaru Court in January, media reported.

The prosecutors sued PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari, the APRIL’s supplier, with  two logging losses which inflicted to the State deficit of Rp 16 trillion during 2004, 2005, and 2006 in Pelalawan district, mongabay.co.id and rct.or.id reported recently.

On 26 September 2013, the Ministry of Environment filed a lawsuit to the company for alleged unlawful act of PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari that causes pollution and environmental destruction by clearing natural forest inside and outside IUPHHK-HT licensed and RKT workplan areas.

PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari committed land clearing outside the area logging license (IUPHHKHT) of 1,8732 that causes Rp 4trillion loss minimum. In addition, the company is also alleged to have cut trees inside the area of bussiness that is against the regulation of Ministry of Forestry.

It is prohibited to conduct natural forest clearing inside the industrial plantation areas, except for the development of infrastructure and facilities with a maximum area of one percent, not to mention the logging of Ramin trees—one of the protected plants. The total loss due to the environmental destruction inside IUPHHKHT area of 5,590 hectares is at least Rp 12 trillion.

In addition to environmental destruction, in the previous trial also revealed that some APRIL suppliers involved in corruption cases of government officials in the province of Riau forestry sector to provide an alleged bribery money of Rp 250 million related to issuing forest clearing permit in Pelalawan.

The allegations on PT Merbau Pelalawan Lestari’s illegal logging, environmental destruction and corruption along with 15 other companies were revealed in Jikalahari (Riau’s Forest Rescue) and Walhi (Friends of the Earth)’s report in 2006 that reported 37 industrial plantation companies to Riau Police.

Merbau Pelalawan Lestari PT alleged conduct illegal logging, environmental damage and corruption along with 15 other corporations since 2006 revealed over reports Riau Forest Rescue Network (Jikalahari) and Environmental Forum (Walhi) who reported 37 industrial timber plantations company to Riau Police.