Indonesian companies face multiple charges for forestry crimes

Indonesian companies face multiple charges for forestry crimes

Law enforcement agencies and ministries have applied multiple laws to net dozens of companies accused of being involved in forest fires, illegal logging and mining activities in protected forest areas.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the head of the Presidential Working Unit for Supervision and Management Development (UKP4) said that cooperation between the National Police, the Environment Ministry, the Forestry Ministry, the Attorney General's Office (AGO) and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) was needed to support the government's commitment to reducing carbon emissions under the REDD+ programme.

The government has pledged to cut emissions by 26 per cent by 2020 with a disbursement of Rp 83 trillion (US$6.82 billion) from the total state budget, around 14 per cent of which will be allocated to the forestry sector.

"We hope that these law enforcement agencies can cooperate in tackling crimes in the environment and natural resources sector in Aceh and Riau, as well as in Central and West Kalimantan," Kuntoro said during a press conference at the UKP4 office on Wednesday.

Through the cooperation, initiated by UKP4 last December, at least nine companies in Central Kalimantan, eight companies in Riau, two companies in Aceh and four companies in West Kalimantan are now facing legal action for allegedly violating articles under the Forestry Law, the Environmental Management and Protection Law as well as the Plantation Law.

The PPATK is now also investigating 101 bank transactions involving 27 individuals as well as companies connected to police officer Labora Sitorus, who held suspicious bank accounts containing over Rp 1 trillion, believed to be the proceeds of illegal logging and fuel smuggling.

"We haven't estimated the total potential state loss resulting from these cases. However, we will follow up these cases, as they could lead to other types of crimes, including money laundering," National Police criminal investigations division (Bareskrim) chief Insp. Gen. Suhardi Alius said.

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