Monday, March 05, 2007

APP, APRIL, export illegal wood: Police

APP, APRIL, export illegal wood: Police
Monday, 26 February 2007
Pekanbaru (EoF News) – The Indonesia Police Chief General Sutanto before a hearing with House’s Commission III early last week in Jakarta said PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP, belongs to Asia Pacific Resources International Limited/APRIL) and PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper (IKPP, belongs to Asia Pulp & Paper/APP) allegedly involved in forest crimes such as illegally wood export and administrative document fraud.

The National Police Chief said the involvement of these two pulp and paper giant companies in such crimes is strongly alleged, Riau Tribune, a local daily, reported Tuesday. The practice of forestry document falsification by IKPP and RAPP might bring about huge State loss in revenue, General Sutanto told a hearing with the House of Representatives’ Commission III chaired by Trimedya Panjaitan.

The police suspected APP and APRIL companies commit document fraud in several administrative tasks such as in type and size of timber reporting, logging result reporting and, in paying provision fee (PSDH) and rehabilitation fee (DR).

Both companies committed illegal export to gain more profit. “Based upon our investigation on the ground, it is strongly alleged that both big companies export illegal timbers in the form of processed timber; because it will be a low profit gained if log is processed for pulp. Otherwise, if it is produced for processed timber, they will gain high profit,” General Sutanto said as quoted by Riau Tribune as saying.

“Inside PT IKPP mill [APP], we found moulding product and sawn mill that allegedly export processed wood to companies in Pekanbaru area. The mills also allegedly produced flooring and moulding products that exported to overseas through its own port. While, both mills allegedly have no license for processed timber export,” the Chief said.

The Indonesian police turn their attention now to illegal logging practices conducted by forest companies as last week its top officers in Riau disclosed a finding on such a crime allegedly perpetrated by PT RAPP.

Meanwhile, WALHI (Friends of Earth Indonesia) issued a press release friday saying the NGO supported the Indonesian Police’s action in seizing timber inside mills of PT RAPP (APRIL) and PT IKPP (APP) in Riau that allegedly illegal for having no export license.

“WALHI considers this step will amend the Indonesian Police’s reputation which have been regarded not serious in upholding law enforcement, particularly against companies allegedly committed illegal logging,” said Chalid Muhammad, WALHI’s national Executive Director.

General Sutanto said, “If in the past [we] uncover [forest crime] physically, today there is document fraud. If we let it happen, beside the forest wealth will be extinct, the ecosystem is troubled, and potential State loss is so huge in term of its revenue,”

The Chief ordered Riau Police Office to request an audit from BPKP, the Financial and Development Supervisory Board, due the estimation on State loss made by the companies’ document fraud practice “has not covered tax revenue that the companies should have paid in timber type difference.”

Both RAPP and IKPP spokespersons declined comment further on the police allegations. “We still learn the data and discuss them in details,” said Troy Pantouw, RAPP PR manager as quoted by Riau Tribune. While, IKPP PR manager Yan Partawijaya said, “We have not received the data yet. Besides, all [allegation] should be proved.”

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Indonesian NGOs consider APRIL's forest operation illegal

Pekanbaru (EoF News) – Eyes on the Forest, a coalition of three environmental NGOs in Riau, Sumatra releases its Investigative Report September & October 2006 today. The EoF Investigation found Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings (APRIL) to be involved in forest clearance operations in two concessions in the Kampar Peninsula forest block. EoF considers these operations illegal as well as destroying potential High Conservation Value Forests (HCVFs) despite APRIL’s own publicly announced policy to protect HCVFs.

EoF strongly calls all the concession holders involved and APRIL to immediately stop their logging and timber sourcing operations to prevent questionable clearing of natural forests which is/are(1) still in good condition, (2) on peat soil deeper than 3m, (3) designated as Protection Forest in the currently active Provincial Land Use Plan, (4) lack approval by the Ministry of Forestry of their invalid, locally issued conversion licenses, and (5) its industry timber plantation (HTI) developed on active selective logging concession (HPH). PT Triomas FDI belonging to APRIL fails to obtain valid logging license, even a dispensation from the Ministry of Forestry, therefore the timbers felled from its operation are illegal.

EoF also strongly calls APRIL live up to its public pledge to work with local NGOS to delineate all HCVFs prior to any logging of natural forests as in concessions of PT National Timber & Forest Product and PT Triomas FDI. The Kampar forest block has been identified as a global tiger priority level 2 landscape. Further conversion of natural forests is likely to cause disturbances that will increase human tiger conflict in the area and may lead to the extinction of the local Sumatra Tiger population.

APRIL has sent its response commenting on EoF Investigative Report September & October 2006 as Jouko Virta, President of APRIL Global Fiber Supply, said that the company and its partners are “in full legal compliance.” EoF does not agree with many points stated out on APRIL’s response letter as the coalition reaffirms to strongly call APRIL not to source timber from such illegal operations and not to destroy potential HCVFs as well as to conduct its FMU-level assessment in PT National Timber & Forest Product.

Read the September/October 2006 report