Illegal mining and plantation backed up by armed officers: commissioner

EoF News / 07 December 2018
Palm oil plantation in Tesso Nilo

A commissioner of anti-corruption (KPK) said a lot of illegal mining and plantation businesses in Indonesia were protected by armed high-ranking officers. This led the illegal businesses keep running despite their licensing marred with problems.

Laode Muhammad Syarif, commissioner of KPK, said Tuesday (4 Dec) that 5,000 mining licenses were incomplete and had status of not “clean and clear.”

In sidelines of World Anti-corruption Day in Jakarta, Laode said, “Too many patrons of illegal mining and illegal plantation are mostly coming from armed high-ranking officers,” katadata website quoted Tuesday. The report did not elaborate the armed officers mentioned by the commissioner.

Laode said the Ministry of Environment and Forestry also allowed the problems prevail as illegal mining and plantation sites had licenses which adjacent to protection forest.  

He asked the press to question the Ministry why they let illegal businesses go on as protected deep peat was also used illegally. “Why are they allowed [to keep operating]?” he asked as media quoted it as saying.

Despite KPK suspected that corruption practice could happen in illegal mining and plantation businesses, but the commission faced hurdles to probe it. He said KPK should first prove whether the problems were allowed on purpose by regulators or not.

"I think the President [Joko Widodo] must tackle this as there are many illicit backings," said Laode.

Illegal mining cost the State loss of trillions rupiah, he said, as tax and income were not registered to the authority.