Police say more officials, companies summoned

EoF News / 06 July 2007

Pekanbaru (EoF News)-- The Riau Police Office has reportedly submitted a request to the President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to summon Minister of Forestry Malam Sambat Kaban as the witness over issuance of 17 licenses of Selective Logging Concession in the province, a newspaper said.

Riau Pos daily reported Friday that following the summons to HPH/selective logging concession holders the police would also qustion Minister of Forestry Kaban as a witness since he issued the licenses. The police would also summon everal distric heads over issuing logging licenses to companies which accused of committing illegal logging.

The daily reported Wednesday that Minister of Forestry Kaban urged the Chief of Indonesian Police General Sutanto to sack Riau Police Office Chief, Brig.-Gen. Sutjiptadi beside Papua and North Sumatra's chiefs for being disproportioal in fighting illegal logging practices in the provinces respectively.

The Indonesia Police spokesperson, Inspector General Sisno Hadiwinoto, said Thursday that the idea to dismiss the Riau Police Chief as suggested by the Minister of Forestry should be ignored. "We have done proportionally and professionally [to fight illegal logging]," he told the daily as quoted as saying.

The spokesman said the police are fighting illegal logging by complying with the existing regulations and laws in the country. "We have vowed to eradicate illegal logging thoroughly. Whoever will be involved, we will take action against [them]. We will not discriminate it," Sisno said.   The Chief of Indonesian Police General Sutanto denied reports saying that Riau Police will summon Minister of Forestry Kaban as a witness for alleged forest crimes that conducted by the HPH holders.

Newspapers reported that the Riau Police would summon several head of districts over issuing logging license which accused of violating the existing forestry and environmental laws.

Earlier this week Brig.-Gen. Sutjiptadi, the Chief of Riau Police announced that three directors of PT Arara Abadi, a subsidiary of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), as well as two former Riau Forestry Service heads named suspects for different illegal logging cases.

The plan that revealed by the police to summon more directors of 22 timber and pulp companies in Riau as well as more district heads have marred controversies. Some politicians and informal leaders supported the illegal logging fighting as conducted by the police by summoning the executives and officials. Other sides rejected the idea which accused the police of targeting the companies whose licenses.