Siak District Head denies graft allegation

EoF News / 06 August 2010

PEKANBARU (EoF News)— Siak District Head, who named suspect last year of corruption allegation in issuing pulpwood plantation licenses, did not attend the summon of his case at Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Office in Jakarta on Wednesday.  

Siak District Head Arwin A.S previously gave testimony on Tuesday’s trial of Asral Rachman, former Riau Forestry Service’s Head, who charged by KPK committing corruption in issuing logging licenses for several pulpwood companies in the district during 2002-2005, media report said.

“Yes, it’s true that he [Arwin] was scheduled to be questioned by KPK investigators at 10.00 in the morning, but until the afternoon Arwin did not come over to KPK building,” Johan Budi, KPK spokesperson, said as quoted as saying by Jawa Pos News Network (JPNN) on Wednesday (4/8/2010).

Johan said that Arwin would be interrogated over his alleged involvement as suspect at the case of IUPHHK-HT or industrial timber plantation license in Siak district during 2002-2003. 

Arwin named suspect on 1 September 2009 as KPK alleged him issuing pulpwood plantation licenses without complying with existing procedure and law as well as receiving remuneration from pulpwood plantation companies that granted the licenses, JPNN reported. 

As a witness, the District Head attended a trial faced by former Riau Forestry Service, Asral Rachman, on Tuesday and he refuted allegations of receiving bribery from any companies holding IUPHHK-HT licenses.

Forestry Service trial

Asral Rachman, former Forestry Service Head, was detained in on 10 February 2010, and its first trial took place on 6 July 2010. Prosecutors at KPK court accused him of causing the State loss to Rp 889.2 billion for “making wealthy himself and others” by issuing licenses to pulpwood plantation companies. 

On the charge that read at the trial of Asral Rachman, the prosecutors accused District Head Arwin of receiving Rp 550 million (equals to US$ 6110) by preparing the licenses that signed by the District Head.

“I never have and order anybody to ask money to the companies. I also never receive a cent of money from any sides relating to the issuance of IUPHHK-HT licenses,” Arwin told the KPK court. He also told the court that he just signed the licenses as he believed all regulations and procedures were obeyed by the Siak Forestry Service head, Asral Rachman.

While, Agus Syamsir, a witness, told the court that three of five companies granting the licenses, namely PT National Timber and Forest Product, PT Seraya Sumber Lestari and PT Balai Kayang Mandiri, did not fulfill the requirements to obtain  

Agus said that two of three companies have relationship with relatives of District Head Arwin. EoF learned that PT National Timber and Forest Product in Kampar Peninsula forest block, and PT Seraya Sumber Lestari in Giam Siak Kecil block are two affiliated companies to Asian Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), while PT Balai Kayang Mandiri in Libo or GSK block is Asia Pulp & Paper’s (APP).

At the first trial on 6 July, the Prosecutors said that PT Seraya Sumber Lestari, PT National Timber and Forest Product, PT Rimba Mandau Lestari (APP), PT Bina Daya Bintara (APRIL), and PT Balai Kayang Mandiri gave money to Asral and Arwin following the issuance of the licenses, JPNN reported on 7 July 2010.

*Crash Image*

From 2004 to 2005 Asral as Riau Forestry Service Head had legalized 12 Annual Work Plans (RKT) or annual cutting approval that allowed forest conversion into plantations throughout the province. 

The 12 companies that obtained RKTs are PT Merbau Palalawan Lestari, PT Selaras Abadi Utama, PT Uniseraya, CV Lindung Bulan, CV Mutiara Lestari, PT Rimba Mutiara Permai, PT Mitra Tani Nusa Sejati, PT Triomas FDI, PT Mitra Hutani Jaya, CV Alam Lestari, CV Harapan Jaya, and PT Madukoro. 

Mochamad Roem, a prosecutor at the court, said that the State suffered loss to Rp 889.2 billion due to the illegal licenses prepared and issued by Asral Rachman. The former Forestry Service Head was also accused of receiving briberies in total Rp 1.54 billion

In September 2008, Pelalawan District Head Azmun Jaafar was sentenced by KPK court to 11 year imprisonment and a fine of Rp 500 million for receiving bribery after issuing pulpwood plantation licenses to 15 companies.