PEKANBARU (EoF News)— The State Finance Audit Agency (BPK) vowed to quest the companies and officials who allowed deforestation illegally as the Minister of Forestry had terminated mining operation on peat forest by PT Arara Abadi, an Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)’s/Sinar Mas Group associated company in Riau province, thanked to the agency’s report.
BPK found that the timber supplier company for APP pulp mill had mined peat forest in Siak District that allegedly caused loss to the State amounting to Rp 2.8 billion for evading tax payment for clearing natural forest, media reported last week.
Ali Masykur Musa, member of BPK’s Division IV on forestry, agriculture and infrastructure issues, said that BPK would chase those who damaged forest starting from executives of companies to officials who issued forest clearing permit negligently.
Tribun Pekanbaru daily reported last weekend (23/1/2010) that the Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan had halted mining operation by PT Arara Abadi, an APP associated company, in Siak District. The termination is ordered by the Minister through his Letter, S-95/Menhut-VII/RHS/2009 dated 11 December 2009.
The company allegedly exploited peat mining in plot of 573 hectares of Siak forest without holding any permit by the Ministry, the daily reported. The company also did not pay forest resources provision amount to Rp 924 million and rehabilitation fee for Rp 1.94 billion
Ali Masykur Musa said that the breach by PT Arara Abadi had “potentially” destroyed the natural forest, Kompas.com reported on Thursday (21/3). He said that the company clearing the natural peat forest had violated Law Number 23 year 1997 on Environmental Management, and Law Number 41 year 1999 on Forestry, Detik.com and Kompas.com reported (21/1/2010).
“Through this method, now, BPK is not merely focusing on financial audit, but also on auditing performance of forest management to specific target probe which is more complete,” Ali Masykur Musa said as quoted by Kompas.com.
PT Arara Abadi – villagers conflict
Meanwhile, 22 residents of Kuala Gasib village in Siak District protested PT Arara Abadi, the pulpwood company for taking over 200 hectares land belong to the community, Tribun Pekanbaru daily reported last week (19/1/2010).
Anton and Sopari are 2 of 22 residents protesting PT Arara Abadi for annexing their land since 2002. “We cannot accept how the village and government leaders treated us like this [to help the company to develop pulpwood plantation on their land],” Anton said.
The 22 residents had filed their complaint to Siak District Legislative Council (DPRD) to help solve the conflict. Head of Sub-District Koto Gasib, Hendra, said that he had submitted a letter to the APP’s associated company to halt the operation, but the pulpwood supplier did not respond it, the daily reported.