The Palm Scribe

KPK Detains Suspect in Bribery Case linked to Riau Forest Conversion

KPK palm oil

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has detained a former legal affair manager of palm oil company PT Duta Palma Group who has been declared a suspect in a bribery case related to a demand for a revision of forest conversion in Riau province in 2014.

The suspect, who was only identified as STR, was detained for 20 days starting as of April 5, 2020 at the KPK detention facility in the KPK building in Kuningan, South Jakarta, the commission said in a press release issued on Sunday (5/4.)

STR was declared as a suspect in the bribery case on April 29, 2019 but he was still serving a jail sentence in a separate case. His one year jail sentence expired on April 5, 2020 and he immediately became a detainee of the KPK.

In the bribery case involving a demand for a revision in the status of forests in Riau that would include lands owned by PT Palma Satu (PT PS) formerly designated as forest to be converted into land that could be used for an oil palm plantation, the KPK has already named three suspects.

The first is PT PS as a corporation, the second is STE the then Legal Manager of PT Duta Palma Group in 2014, and third and last is SUD, owner of PT Darmex Group/PT Duta Palma.

SUD as Beneficial Owner of PT PS, together with STR and PT PS and friends, are suspected of having given a bribe of Rp3 billion in rupiah and Singapore dollars to the then Governor of Riau, Anas Maamun to get the status of company land converted from a forest area into an area that could be planted with oil palm.

SUD is suspected of having offered Maamun a fee of Rp 8 million dollars to be paid through the Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Oil Palm Farmers, Gulat Medali Emas Manurung Gulat, to get a revision of a Decree of the Forestry Minister so as to allow forest belonging to the company to be converted into oil palm plantations.

On September 25, 2014, the KPK caught Manurung and Maamun red handed while the latter was giving the governor a bribe of Rp2 billion rupiah in the form of Rp500 million in rupiah bills and another 156 million in Singapore dollars.

Maamun is now still serving a six-year jail sentence that would see him free in October 2020 while Manurung has served a three-year jail sentence.

PT PS as a corporation is charged of violating Article 5 Point (1.a or 1.b) or Article 13 of Law Number 31 of 1999 that was later revised with Law Number 20 of 2001 on Corruption Eradication.

STR and SUD are being accused of the same charges but also of violating Article 55 Point (1.1) or Article 56 of the Penal Code.

STR was serving a one-year jail sentence in a separate case in Pekanbaru, Riau and his sentence was due to end on April 5, 2020. However, the KPK based on the argument of facilitating the investigation in the bribery case, managed to obtain the approval from the director general of penitentiary affairs to move STR’s detention to KPK’s detention facility in Jakarta

Upon the completion of the one year jail term on April 5, STR immediately became a detained of the KPK.

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