KPK to probe Riau, Pelalawan illegal logging cases

EoF News / 13 February 2009

PEKANBARU (EoF News)—Anti-corruption body target Riau illegal logging cases which allegedly involved timber and pulp companies as well as government officials to take over following the case closure by the police end of 2008.

Koran Tempo daily reported Thursday (12/2/2009) that Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) pledged to resume the cases of 13 companies as well as Pelalawan District corruption case which sent its District Head Tengku Azmun Jaafar to the jail with 16-year imprisonment.

Ade Rahardja, Deputy of Taking Measures at KPK, said that the takeover of the probe from hands of Riau Police due to there is correlation between the police did and what the agency has been doing, Koran Tempo reported.

House of Representatives’ Law Commission (III) met KPK on Wednesday which also discussed the Riau illegal logging cases that halted by the police in December 2008 due to expert witnesses told the police there is no any ecological damage by the company.

The parliamentarians urged KPK to probe the cases that terminated by the police,Tribun Pekanbaru daily reported (12/2/2009).

House’s Commission III said that they would verify the issuance of SP3 (letter to close cases) issued by the  Riau Police whether it complies with the Law or not, said Mayasyak Johan, member of the Law Commission.

Ade Rahardja said that KPK probe would focus on alleged breach of licenses for pulpwood plantations by felling timber in natural forest. “As the matter of fact, the licenses allocated [for logging operation] in natural forest,” Ade Rahardja said as quoted as saying by Koran Tempo daily (12/2/2009).

He also said that trial of Pelalawan District Head Azmun Jaafar has proved action against the law in terms of permit issuance. “By that reason, KPK would continue to extend these cases,” he said.

Azmun Jaafar was sentenced to 16-year imprisonment last year following the issuance of logging licenses for 15 timber companies that associated to APRIL and APP. This case is prosecuted by Corruption Crime District Court in Jakarta.

In the meeting of KPK and the Commission, the agency’s chairman, Antasari Azhar, said his organization would expand probing of corruption cases from Riau illegal logging licenses issued by the government officials.

There should be new suspect named if the case probed further despite the agency still focuses on three suspects of former Riau Forestry Service Heads, Syuhada Tasman, Asral Rachman, and Burhanuddin Husin, Antasari said.