Subject: NGO coalition to meet taskforce, questions seriousness in probing illegal logging mafia

The Jakarta Post [web site] April 22, 2010

NGO coalition to meet taskforce, questions seriousness in probing illegal logging mafia

by Bagus BT Saragih

A number of NGOs grouped under the "Forestry Anti-Mafia Coalition" are scheduled to meet the Judicial Mafia Taskforce at 2 p.m. on Thursday to discuss the plan to eradicate illegal logging mafia.

"In the meeting with the taskforce, we will question President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's seriousness in tackling the mafia in the forestry sector," Indonesia Corruption Watch deputy coordinator Emerson Yuntho said.

In his speech earlier this month, Yudhoyono vowed to crackdown on the illegal-logging mafia.

He also invited NGOs concerned with forestry and the environment to work together with the government to save Indonesia's forest.

However, Emerson said, the government had yet to deliver concrete action.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Financial Transactions Analysis and Reports Center (PPATK) office in Central Jakarta.

The coalition will submit data about some alleged illegal logging cases to the taskforce, mostly in Sumatra.

"We will urge the taskforce to probe 14 illegal logging cases in Riau, in which the investigations have been stopped by the police. The Riau cases have allegedly caused Rp 2.8 trillion [US$310.8 million] in state-losses.

"We will also share data we have collected outlining 15 methods the forestry mafia practice," Emerson said.

The NGOs claimed that the illegal logging practices across the country had caused at least Rp 30 trillion in annual state losses.


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