Riau Police Chief: Companies tend to misuse license

EoF News / 12 April 2007

Pekanbaru (EoF News) -- Riau Police have insisted to probe all out illegal logging cases involving large forestry companies amid worries warned by the provincial legislators as the action would harm investment opportunity in the province.

Chief of Riau Police Brig.-Gen. Sutjiptadi said that his organization will keep probing illegal logging case that involved two giant pulp and paper companies in the province, APP and APRIL.

"Because Law should be upheld and in doing all of this I have strong basis and reason," he told Riau Pos daily after a hearing with Riau Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD) in Pekanbaru early this week.

The chief said illegal logging practice in Riau frequently involved big companies whose legal permit. Despite this, the companies mostly misused the license granted.

"It is true that they obtain license, but they conduct logging which not comply with existing law, such as clearcutting in forbidden area or adjacent [to the concession], or they conduct logging exceeding [the conditions of] the license. This remains wrong," the Police Chief told a hearing at DPRD provincial legislative council as quoted by Riau Terkini as saying.

He said the Minister of Forestry decree on illegal logging should be revised for improvement. The existing law must be upheld due to forest area size in the province decreases drastically today.

Since February, Riau Police which backed up by Indonesian Police Headquarters have been investigating and probing the alleged involvement of two large pulp and paper companies, PT Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper (IKPP) and PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), over several forest crimes allegations.

The chief said he paid attention to possibly internal involvement to abort the illegal logging probe against large companies. Despite this, he convinced the councilors that he would take stern action against policemen who mess about the ongoing legal action. 

A special team to investigate the case is dominated by non-Riau personnel in a bid to reduce vested interest. The police would not rule out a need to consult with related experts to gain in-depth analysis on its legal action against perpetrators, he said. This month the police question executives of PT IKPP (APP) after summoned directors of PT RAPP/Riaupulp (APRIL) last month, Riau Tribune daily reported.

In another development, Speaker of Riau Provincial Legislative Council, Chaidir, said provincial forestry service's performance is not optimal to fight illegal logging. Local parliamentarians criticized the forestry service for poor supervision to license granted to forestry-based companies which their operation tend to deplete the natural forests.