Governor detained for forest graft, probe to companies, ministry needed

EoF News / 15 June 2013

EoF News (PEKANBARU) — Riau Governor Rusli Zainal finally was detained by Corruption Eradicatio Commission (KPK) yesterday for allegedly “abusing power to make money for himself and other people or a corporation” by legalizing five-yearly logging plans to some timber suppliers in Pelalawan and Siak Districts between 2001 – 2007, KPK press release said.

Rusli Zainal is the sixt Riau officials whom charged by KPK for forest corruption cases which took place in both districts where the previous five had been punished and jailed. Zainal was named a suspect in February 2013 and KPK said he would be detained for the first 20 days in East Jakarta prison.

The Governor is also verdicted with graft and bribery accusations in separate case of National Games 2012 which also investigated by KPK since last year.

Despite six Riau officials were prosecuted but there were no any person was probed from pulp and timber companies, which protested by environmentalists.  

Jikalahari coordinator, Muslim Rasyid, said that KPK should also investigate  people from companies, either from APP, APRIL and their suppliers whom involved with cases of those officials. “It is unfair to see that a manager from APRIL’s PT RAPP could escape and remain at large for years despite the court’s witnesses citing that man as key person who knows much the bribery and forest corruption cases,” said Rasyid to EoF News.

EoF learns that Roosman is a manager from APRIL’s PT RAPP who has been at large since the probe of forest corruption which first jailed Pelalawan District Head Azmun Jaafar in 2009. “There are several directors and managers of APRIL and APP timber suppliers whom could be prosecuted and jailed, if KPK keeps going on the right track,” said Rasyid.

Riko Kurniawan, newly elected Director Executive of WALHI Riau chapter, said that he appreciated the move made by KPK to detain Rusli Zainal, but the case of forest corruption should go further to probe officials from Ministry of Forestry as annual cutting licenses and five-yearly cutting plans might involve persons in the organization as well as people in APP and APRIL timber suppliers.

“This RZ [Rusli Zainal] case is getting close to persons in the Ministry’s Office and corporates of APP and APRIL due to licenses deforesting Riau forests,” Kurniawan said. “It can be an entry to reveal pandora box of forest crimes in the country, so we support KPK to keep moving forward.”

While, Hariansyah Usman, former WALHI Riau’s Director, said Riau Police should reopen forest crime cases that they closed in 2008 when 14 timber suppliers of APP and APRIL escaped from prosecution due to expert witnesses from the Government’s side said there was no any environmental damages done by the companies.

Rusli Zainal was also named a suspect of National Games 2012 graft scandal and charged with  violating the Corruption Law and the Criminal Code for his role to brive legislators and receive bribe as well. Seven local councilors were arrested in connection with the case. KPK investigators also confiscated Rp 900 million (U$94,000) as evidence of the bribe.

KPK said this week that Zainal was allegedly against the Law and inflicted the State’s loss to IDR 265 billions and was charged with Anti-Corruption Law number 31 year 1999 and amended Law number 20 year 2001.

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