Friday, 18 April 2008

Dismissed police chief investigated

Dismissed police chief investigated

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Thu, 04/17/2008 12:46 PM Headlines

The National Police will launch an internal investigation into the possible role of former West Kalimantan Police chief Brig. Gen. Zainal Abidin Ishak in several illegal logging and timber smuggling cases in the province.

"We will go ahead with the investigation, but as of this moment, we have yet to find any convincing evidence of his involvement in the cases," National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Abubakar Nataprawira told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

National Police chief Gen. Sutanto on Tuesday replaced Zainal with Brig. Gen. Natakusumah, former head of operational control at National Police Headquarters in Jakarta.

Zainal was removed from his post following police investigations into illegal logging in Ketapang regency, which ended with the detention of three officers, including former Ketapang Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Akhmad Sun'an.

Zainal has been accused of negligence that allowed illegal logging and timber smuggling to flourish in the province.

"This (replacement) is punishment for Zainal. The National Police chief will not accept regional police chiefs who are unaware and have no grasp of what is happening in his or her jurisdiction," spokesman Abubakar said.

Zainal has been transferred to National Police Headquarters, where he will serve as an expert staff member.

"The replacement is expected to encourage a new monitoring system in West Kalimantan to prevent further cases of illegal logging and timber smuggling there," Abubakar said.
"The National Police chief hopes the cases in Ketapang are the last to happen in the country."
Police investigating the cases in the regency have confiscated about 12,000 cubic meters of logs with an estimated value of Rp 208 billion (US$22.6 million), along with 19 barges used to transport the logs.

Officers believe the confiscated logs were bound for Kuching in Malaysia, later to be sold in China, Taiwan and Japan.

At least 26 government officials, six from the West Kalimantan forestry agency, have been declared suspects in the cases.