Thursday, 7 August 2008

Groups urge KPK to probe Ka'ban, Trimedya for illegal logging

This article refers to the Minister of Forestry - in my view he should be renamed the Minister of Deforestation, because this is what he oversees with no apparent lack of concern. As we can see below, he is under investigation by the anti-corruption authorities.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 The Jakarta Post

Groups urge KPK to probe Ka'ban, Trimedya for illegal logging

Abdul Khalik , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Mon, 08/04/2008

A letter sent by Forestry Minister Malam Sambat Ka'ban to the police to defend convicted illegal logger Adelin Lis should prompt the KPK to summon him for questioning, civil society groups said Sunday.

The Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) also demanded the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) probe Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Trimedya Panjaitan for allegedly receiving bribes from Adelin.

Walhi also said Ka'ban had defended Adelin from the moment police had begun investigating her.

"The letters and the statements are indications that Ka'ban has played a role in helping Adelin escape justice in district and high courts," Walhi executive director Berry Nahdian Furqon told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

On April 21, 2006, Ka'ban sent a letter to the North Sumatra chief of police informing him that Adelin was the holder of a forest concession (HPH) employing thousands of workers, and underlining his contribution to the country's foreign reserve.

That's why, Ka'ban said in his letter, the government must support Adelin's firms.

"Ka'ban stressed that Adelin only violated administrative regulations, not the criminal code. Administrative affairs was the Forestry Ministry's jurisdiction and not the police's, Kaban told the police chief," Berry said.
However, police reported Adelin had illegally cut down trees in protected areas in Mandailing Natal regency and Batang Gadis National Park, both in North Sumatra, and had sold them abroad.

During Adelin's trial, Ka'ban also corresponded with Adelin's lawyer, defending him from criminal charges.

In the end, the Medan District Court acquitted Adelin of all charges last year.

The Supreme Court annulled the ruling last Friday, instead convicting Adelin of illegal logging and sentencing him to 10 years imprisonment.
However, Adelin fled the country before an arrest could be made.

"Ka'ban must be questioned by the police on why he defended Adelin after the Supreme Court's ruling," Febri Diansyah of the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said Sunday.

Ka'ban has dismissed all accusations linking him to Adelin, including that he ever met or spoke with the businessman.

Febri said the ICW had documents proving that Rp 250 million (US$27,747) had been transferred from Adelin's account to Trimedya's account in 2006. Trimedya denied the allegation, claiming the account was not his.