Police: 258 named suspects of illegal logging

EoF News / 23 April 2008

PEKANBARU (EoF News)—Riau Police said that at least 258 persons named suspects of ongoing environmental and forestry crime cases involving pulp and paper companies and government officials.

At a hearing with Riau Legislative Council (DPRD Riau) here Monday (21/4/2008), deputy chief of Riau Police R. Suherman told the local parliamentarians that the police still await the green light from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to probe the officials, Tribun Pekanbaru daily reported Tuesday (22/4/2008).

The reports said that the police elaborated that there are 35 officials from provincial and district forestry services, 29 from PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper (associated to Asia Pulp & Paper/APP), 24 from PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (associated to Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited/APRIL), and from officials issuing licenses 21 people. The rest from ordinary people, Suherman said.

The police did not specify the identity of suspects. “The government officials could be district heads, governor, and minister of forestry, but their probe still awaits permit from President of Republic of Indonesia,” said Suherman at the hearing, Tribun Pekanbaru daily reported.
Riau Police said they succeed to save the State’s money amount to Rp 9.4 billion from the losses caused by the forestry crimes.

Riau legislative councilors urged the police to be proactive to ask the Indonesian President to release the permit to probe the officials.

Meanwhile, Jikalahari NGOs network, said that Minister of Forestry Malam Sambat Kaban should bear responsibility too over the issuance of logging licenses that granted by detained Pelalawan District Head Azmun Jaafar.

At a press release distributed today (23/4/2008), Susanto Kurniawan, coordinator of Jikalahari, network for Riau natural forest rescue, said that they regretted Kaban’s statement on Azmun’s claim that the minister should be responsible for verifying the licenses.

“Who did receive the bribe? Why should I be demanded to be responsible for?” Kaban said on Monday in Jakarta, Koran Tempo reported yesterday (22/4/2008).

Hironimus Dani, lawyer of Azmun, said that the alleged bribe and corruption are not committed by Azmun alone, but also those who gave and received it, Tribun daily reported Tuesday.