House to summon companies allegedly behind fires

 House to summon companies allegedly behind fires

15 September 2016

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Indonesia —   The House of Representatives committee investigating forest fires will summon 15 companies alleged to have been responsible for land and forest fires in order to get to the bottom of why terminations of investigation (SP3s) into the companies’ activities were issued by Riau Police.

The committee’s chairperson Benny K. Harman said that lawmakers had found an indication of manipulation during the process of the SP3 issuance. For example, he added, the police did not send notification letters on the investigation orders (SPDP) to the Riau Prosecutor’s Office when they named the companies as suspects, but then unilaterally issued the SP3s, citing reasons such as a lack of evidence.

“We want to ensure the transparency and accountability of the mechanism and the background [of the SP3 issuance],” Benny told reporters on Wednesday.

Benny said the public wanted to know whether the issuances followed a legal process or whether non-legal aspects influenced the decisions. The hearing with the companies are expected in the next five weeks.

Before summoning the 15 companies, the committee plans to summon Environment and Forestry Ministry officials to obtain more accurate data on the companies, Benny said, especially to verify whether the companies had valid production-forest concession permits and to ascertain further facts behind the forest fires allegedly started by them.

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