Monitoring group questions APP, APRIL timber certificates

EoF News / 28 February 2013

EoF News (PEKANBARU) — An independent monitoring on legal wood certification in Riau province urged the government and certification agencies to be responsible for passing Timber Legality of Assurance System (TLAS) certificates to forest management units as some of timber companies targeted by anti-corruption commission for further probe on graft scandals.

Jaringan Pemantau Independent Kehutanan (JPIK, Independent Forestry Monitoring Network) published a press release on Wednesday  blasting government and certification bodies in providing TLAS (SVLK in Bahasa) certificates to companies which actually involved in forestry corruption cases in Riau province.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) this week said it would investigate 14 timber and pulp companies which involved in corruption cases that jailed five Riau officials and named Riau Governor Rusli Zainal suspect this month.

JPIK said at the press release that 3 out of 14 companies had got their certificates on Sustainable Forest Management (PHPL) and other 7 companies obtained the certificates on Timber Legality Verification (VLK). “All those companies are members of Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL) and Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) group,” JPIK said.

The monitoring group questioned the certificates for those companies and the stakeholders (Independent Auditor) who issued that certificates.

”We did the monitoring on some of that troubled companies which applied of Sustainable Forest Management (PHPL) Certification on PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) and PT. Arara Abadi. In the monitoring process, we were facing difficulties on data and information access about the certification process and also the result of the certification itself,” Zainuri Hasyim, the Focal Point JPIK of Riau, added.

Timber Legality of Assurance System or SVLK is a requirement to fulfill legality of timber/ products which made based on multi-stakeholders agreement. It included standards, criteria, indicator, verifier, verification methods and assessment norms. Indo-TLAS or SVLK refers to Permenhut No P.38/Menhut-II/2009 which updated to P.68/Menhut-II/2011 and on 18 December 2012 updated to P.45/Menhut-II/2012.

Assessment System for Performance of Sustainable Production Forest Management (PK-PHPL) is an assessment process of Sustainable Forest Management (PHPL) and Timber Legality Verification (VLK) to holders of timber commercial license. This includes standard, criteria, verifier, verification methods and assessment norms.

Independent Forestry Monitoring Network (JPIK) was established on 23 September 2010 by 29 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and NGOs Network from Aceh to Papua.

“Indication on issues of companies’ performance is stronger due to the KPK’s investigations. That’s why, the companies and the certification/assesment institutions should be responsible for the SVLK certificate that have been issued. National Committee of Acreditation (KAN) and Ministry of Forestry also responsible as well,” said Zainuri Hasyim.