Ex-district head sentenced for forestry corruption case

EoF News / 23 December 2011

EoF News (PEKANBARU) – Former Siak District Head Arwin AS was sentenced to four-year imprisonment by Corruption Court in Pekanbaru on Thursday as he was found guilty to make money collaborately by issuing logging licenses to pulp timber suppliers during his service as District Head in 2001-2002.

The Judges led by Muefri told the Court that Arwin should also pay compenssation fee amount to IDR 800 million and USD 2000 and causing  the loss to the State amount to IDR 301 billions.

The sentence is lighter than the Prosecutors demanded with 5 year-imprisonment as  Indonesian Corruption Watch criticized the punishment as very “minimal” and unequal to crime impact  caused by the defendant who was Siak District Head, Antarariau reported Thursday.

Arwin issued logging licenses to timber suppliers of Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) such as PT Rimba Mandau Lestari and PT Balai Kayang Mandiri, as well as Asian Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL’s) suppliers, PT Bina Daya Bentara, PT Seraya Sumber Lestari, and PT National Timber and Forest Product.

“The punishment is dissappointing public,” said Donald Fariz of ICW shortly after the final decision that made by the Judges. “The Judges should have considered the greater element in such a decision, due to Arwin’s status at that time is District Head and his action evidently benefitted to himself, other people and companies which cost the State loss by IDR 301 billions,” Donald told Antarariau as quoted as saying.

Arwin is the third official in Riau province whom punished for forestry license-related corruption cases following former Pelalawan District Head Azmun Jaafar (sentenced to 11 years in jail) and former Riau Forestry Service Head Asral Rachman (5 years).

EoF learned that nobody from timber companies whom brought to Justice for the cases of corruption in logging licenses issuance as those officials experienced. Early in this month, ICW  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.

First trial

In another development, Syuhada Tasman, former Riau Forestry Service Head, was tried for the first time at Corrupton Court in Pekanbaru which related to the verdict against former Pelalawan District Head, Azmun Jaafar, who was sentenced to 11 years in jail two years ago.

Syuhada is accused of taking bribery from six timber companies in Pelalawan as he issued logging license illegally in 2003-2004, Riauterkini reported  Wednesday. The prosecutors said Syuhada had caused the State loss to IDR 153 billions for issuing licenses to APRIL affiliated companies:  PT Selaras Abadi Utama, PT Mitra Taninusa Sejati, PT Rimba Mutiara Permai, CV tri Lindung Bulan, CV Tuah Negeri dan CV Bhakti Praja Mulia.