Siak Distric Head prosecuted in Riau

EoF News / 16 August 2011

EoF News(PEKANBARU)-- Siak District Head Arwin A.S was tried for the first time in Pekanbaru Corruption Crime Court on 11 August for graft indicment as he issued logging licenses to timber companies.

It is the first trial held in Pekanbaru where anti-corruption groups watched the event and students staged rallies to demand the defendant to speak out to the judges on the charges he faced.

NGO activists and students allied in Koalisi Pembarantas Korupsi Riau urged Arwin to tell straightforward on possible involvement of other officials in the corruption case in issuing logging licenses, Tribun Pekanbaru daily reported Friday (12 Aug).

The demonstrators were blocked to go into the court room by the police and they held rallies outside the court by wearing masks of Arwin and Riau Governor Rusli Zainal.

"We support Pak Arwin to disclose official names who allegedly involved in corruption crime in issuing pulpwood plantation license (IUPHHK-HT)," said Anis Mursil, the rally's coordinator.

He cited officials that should be tried by KPK court such as Governor Rusli Zainal, a witness of the trial, and Burhanuddin Husein, Kampar District Head, and a suspect of illegal logging case as he is former Riau Forestry Service.

Corruption case in issuing logging licenses for pulp suppliers have sent two officials to the prison as the indictment started three years ago. Former Pelalawan District Head Azmun Jaafar was sentenced to 11 year imprisonment and ex-head of Riau Forestry Service Asral Rachman was penalized for 5 year imprisonment.

Another Riau Forestry Service Head, Syuhada Tasman, was detained by Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on 3 August 2011.

Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) sent its deputy coordinator Emerson Yuntho to look up the trial and accompanied by activist from Jikalahari, a local NGO network.

Emerson said despite the trial held in Pekanbaru, his organization would monitor the legal process and expected there will be no "justice mafia" affect the trial.

Prosecutors of trial accused Arwin of issuing logging licenses for five pulp suppliers, while he had no authority to do so. They are PT Seraya Sumber Lestari (16,875 hectares), PT National Timber and Forest Product (8,200),  PT Bina Daya Bintara (8,000), PT Rimba Mandau Lestari (6,400) and PT Balai Kayang Mandiri (21,450). PT Rimba Mandau Lestari is affiliated to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), and the rest are affiliated to Asian Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL).

The State suffered a total loss of Rp 301.65 billion for the issuance of the logging licenses by Arwin, the Prosecutors said.