14 January 2003
(ENS) - Corruption on the part of Indonesian police and government
officials is to blame for continued illegal logging in Indonesia's
national parks, a report released today in London by the Environmental
Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Indonesian environmental organization
Telapak charges. The groups accuse the government of Indonesia
of failing to protect Tanjung Puting National Park, and failing
to arrest the timber baron behind illicit logging there.
Illegal logging is completely out of control,” said EIA Director
Dave Currey. EIA is an independent, international campaigning organization
committed to investigating and exposing environmental crime.
Despite assurances by the government at a Consultative Group for
Indonesia (CGI) meeting three years ago that it would stop logging
in national parks, the logging has increased," Currey said. "Tanjung
Puting National Park in Central Kalimantan was accepted as a test
case, yet even here they have completely failed.”
The Consultative Group for Indonesia is a group of donors convened
annually by the World Bank that includes the governments of the
industrial democracies, the multi-lateral banks, and several agencies
of the United Nations.
The new EIA report “Above the Law: Corruption, Collusion,
Nepotism and the Fate of Indonesia’s Forests,” details
the promises and failures of the government since 1999.
Timber baron and Member of Parliament Abdul Rasyid was first named
as being behind illegal logging in Tanjung Puting National Park
in 1999, and numerous investigations by journalists, government
officials and international observers have confirmed these reports.
Last year, the EIA says, three cargo ships were seized by the Indonesian
Navy loaded with 25,000 cubic meters of logs off Rasyid’s
Pangkalan Bun stronghold. Investigations and documents linked the
ships to Rasyid’s Tanjung Lingga Group of companies. Indonesia
has a log export ban, but the ships were bound for China.
Still, the police failed to prosecute Rasyid's companies, released
the ships and auctioned the logs, the EIA found. The operation
to seize the ships had been devised with cooperation between the
Navy and the Ministry of Forestry, but the prosecution was dependent
on the police.
The EIA report presents the evidence of Rasyid’s companies’ involvement
in the logging and the case of the three seized ships and looks
at the test case of logging in Tanjung Puting National Park.
Corruption has reached such blatant levels in Indonesia that its
international rating is equal with Kenya and below Azerbaijan,” said
The complete failure of this government to protect Tanjung Puting," Currey
charged, "is because it refuses to tackle corruption at the
highest levels of the political, military and enforcement elite.
The CGI accepted Tanjung Puting as a test case and must react now
to the government’s failure.”