House commission to meet police on cases closure

EoF News / 06 February 2009

PEKANBARU (EoF News)— House of Representatives’ Commission III members visiting Riau Province today to verify for motive behind closure of huge illegal logging cases by the Riau Police in December last year. Tribun Pekanbaru daily reported today (06/02/2009) that at least 13 parliamentarians from Commission III handling legal issues would meet new chief of Riau Police Brig.- Gen. Adjie Rustam Ramdja here.

The new chief replaced Brig.Gen. Hadiatmoko, who promoted as deputy of National Police’s crime intelligence unit. Hadiatmoko on 22 December 2008 announced that the police closed the 22-month-old illegal logging cases which allegedly involved 13 timber and pulp companies due to unconvincing testimony as uttered by expert witnesses from government agencies.

Adjie Rustam Ramdja, after his inauguration as new chief, told the press Wednesday that he could resume probing the companies’ illegal logging indictments if there was fresh evidence supporting the allegation, Tribun Pekanbaru daily reported Thursday (05/02/2009). Azlaini Agus, the Commission’s member, said Thursday that the parliamentarians also planned to meet Riau Prosecutors Office Head, Suroso, to find out why the cases closed.

The police said that the Prosecutors Office could not proceed the dossiers to prosecution. “Public should know the reason why SP3 (document to halt case probe) was issued, was it really legal matter, or much more for the sake of  economy’s interest of financial backers or a few of political elites,” she told the Tribun as quoted as saying. She said that SP3 issuance to close the cases was against the National Police Chief’s commitment before the House to keep fighting illegal logging practice in the country.

Azlaini Agus, the parliamentarian from Riau, also questioned the decision made by the province Prosecutors Office to reject presence of two expert witnesses proposed by the police. Both are academicians had successfully given affidavit before a trial of illegal logging in North Sumatra two years ago, she said. Environmental NGOs in Riau like Jikalahari and Walhi Riau hailed the commitment pledged by the new police chief to resume the illegal logging cases and were ready to help if necessary, said Susanto Kurniawan, coordinator of Jikalahari, the daily reported.