Minister indicates 23 companies allegedly Involved in Riau fires

EoF News / 26 April 2014

EoF News (PEKANBARU) - Field investigator team set up by Ministry of Environment (MoE) found strong evidences of the involvement of 23 plantations and industrial timber plantation (HTI) companies of a total of 43 firms investigated in forest and land fires case which had caused severe haze in the beginning of this year, media reported.

Minister of Environment, Prof. Balthasar Kambuaya, told the press after opening a Sumatra ecoregion environmental meeting 2014 at the residence of Riau Governor, Monday (21/4).

According to the minister, most of the legal process against the 23 companies indicated in fires issue are still under investigation. Balthasar stated that there are 3 companies in the list which are also already named suspects for the previous year’s case, as quoted on

The Minister also said that if proven guilty, his side will file a revocation against the companies, “Certainly we will do follow-up by filing revocations toward the companies’ licenses, if the license is under MoE, I will immediately revoke it, but if not, it will be told to the related parties.”

But he refused to specify the alleged companies in details, “Not to be announced yet. Within six months, the investigation is complete,” Kambuaya said as quoted on Liputan 6.

Meanwhile, Riko Kurniawan, Executive Director of Friends of the Earth (WALHI), hoped that the goverment would accelerate the filing process in the forest and land fires case, “The examination process of the witnesses tends to take a very long time, could be months. Because of that, a committment is needed between the associated ministries and the law enforcement to make it fast so that the case which allegedly involves some companies can be immediately proceeded to court,” Riko told Haluan last Monday.

The fire and haze case that occured in the beginning of this year is one of the worst that ever happened in the history of Riau’s annual disaster during the last 17 years. The air quality peaked to dangerous level for weeks then caused over 100,000 people suffering  from respiratory infections and disrupted national flights as well.