Jakarta High Court Rejects Hartati Appeal

The Jakarta High Court on Thursday upheld a previous ruling issued by the Anti-Corruption Court that convicted Siti Hartati Murdaya Poo of bribery, striking down her appeal of the 2.5 year sentence.

Ahmad Sobari, a spokesman for the Jakarta High Court, said on Thursday that the court decided to uphold the verdict because no new evidence was presented by the prosecution.

“In the appeal, there were no new legal facts [presented], just repetitions,” he said.

Ahmad said that he and the panel of judges believed that the Anti-Corruption Court made the right decision by ordering Hartati to serve 32 months in jail and pay Rp 150 million ($15,450) in fines.

Hartati was proven guilty of offering Rp 3 billion in kickbacks to Amran Batalipu, the former head of Central Sulawesi’s Buol district.

Hartati initially claimed the money was a donation, but later said she was extorted by Amran.

The panel of judges said Hartati gave orders to her subordinates, Yani Anshori and Gondo Sudjono, to give the Buol district head Rp 3 billion in exchange for land concessions for her oil palm plantation companies, Hardaya Inti Plantation and Cipta Cakra Murdaya.

Prosecutors alleged that Hartati was not forthcoming about her role in the bribery case during the trail. They also criticized her for mobilizing a mob of protestors to rally outside the trial. But judges, during the sentencing, played up Hartati’s efforts to develop the local economy in Buol.

The court also sentenced Amran to seven-and-a-half years in jail for taking bribes from Hartati

Amran was also ordered to pay Rp 300 million in fines, or serve an extra six months in jail. The judges, however, did not require him to return the Rp 3 billion received from Hartati via her subordinates.

Source: Jakarta Globe

Aceh Court Says Cancellation of Plantation Firm’s Permit in Rawa Tripa Illegal

Banda Aceh. The Banda Aceh Administrative Court on Friday ruled in favor of a palm oil company in its lawsuit against the Aceh governor’s revocation of its permit to clear and operate on a 1,605-hectare land in Rawa Tripa, a lush forest and peatland region in the province’s Nagan Raya district.

Presiding Judge Yusri Arbi said that Aceh Governor Zainal Abdullah’s decision in September 2012 to revoke the permit for plantation firm Kallista Alam, following an order from the Medan High Court, was not legally binding because the court decision was being challenged in the Supreme Court.

Kallista Alam obtained the permit to open the plantation from then Governor Irwandi Yusuf in August 2011. But the governor’s decision was met with protests by environmental activists who said that the area was the habitat of Sumatran orangutans, which are critically endangered, and other rare animals.

The Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) dragged the governor to the Aceh state administrative court but the court rejected Walhi’s suit on April 3, 2012. Walhi then appealed the ruling to the Medan High Court. On Aug. 30, 2012, the Medan High Court ordered the governor, now Zainal Abdullah, who was elected in April 2012 , to pull the permit.

The Ministry of Environment and the Attorney General’s Office later filed a case against Kallista Alam for crimes conducted in Rawa Tripa.

Kallista Alam, however, as an affected party, filed an appeal against the Medan court decision with the Supreme Court. At the same time, it filed a lawsuit with the Banda Aceh Administrative Court contesting the revocation of the permit.

The head of the legal bureau for the Aceh government, Edrian, said the government would file an appeal against this latest verdict with the Medan High Court.

“The Aceh government’s stance is clearly to file an appeal because the governor’s decision to revoke the business permit of Kalista Alam was to follow the decision of Medan High Administrative Court,” he told Jakarta Globe on Friday.

“The panel [of judges] should consider the environmental impact created by Kallista and the impact to the residents around Rawa Tripa before deciding to grant their lawsuit. Moreover, Rawa Tripa  was once under international spotlight concerning forest burning when clearing the land.”

Edrian claimed that based on investigation of the Aceh government, Kallista Alam’s initial operations had damaged the environment and led to conflicts with residents.

Walhi Aceh director T.M. Zulfikar said the verdict was a set back in the efforts to conserve the peatland and protect the orangutans in Rawa Tripa.

“Walhi Aceh will also file an appeal to the Medan High Administrative Court,” Zulfikar said.

He said that Kallista Alam should not have been able to contest the revocation as the Aceh government had full authority to issue or revoke business permits as part of its extended authority as a special region.

“We hope the Supreme Court will issue a verdict as soon as possible on the appeal filed by Kallista [Alam] so the problem won’t drag on,” he added.

(source: Jakarta Globe)

Court issues verdict Chevron bioremeditation case

The Jakarta Corruption Court’s decision to imprison executives from two of Chevron Pacific Indonesia’s (CPI) contractors for their roles in a corruption case involving the US-based oil company’s environmental project will harm the investment climate in the country’s oil and gas sector, the upstream oil and gas regulator has said.

“The case could upset the investment climate in the upstream sector, and ultimately delay the government’s campaign to increase production and find new hydrocarbon reserves,” said upstream oil and gas regulatory special task force (SKKMigas) spokesman Elan Biantoro on Thursday.

CPI, a subsidiary of US giant Chevron, is currently the largest crude oil producer in the country, ahead of Indonesia’s state-run Pertamina, with output of around 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, amounting to 40 percent of the
nation’s total oil production.

Elan added that the government had yet to reimburse the US$9.9 million spent by CPI on the project and, thus, there were no state losses in the case.

The regulator was referring to developments in the CPI case at the Jakarta Corruption Court.

The court sentenced on Wednesday the director of environmental services company PT Green Planet Indonesia, Ricksy Prematuri, and the director of construction services firm PT Sumigita Jaya, Herlan bin Ompo, to five and six years in jail, respectively, after finding both executives guilty of causing state losses.

Both Ricksy and Herlan must also pay resepctive fines of Rp 200 million ($20,600) and Rp 250 million, according to the court’s verdict.

Green Planet was ordered by the court to refund $3.089 million in state losses within a month or the court would confiscate the company’s assets, while Sumigita was ordered to reimburse $6.9 million in state losses.

The sentences were lighter than those sought by prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), who wanted Ricksy sentenced to 12 years in prison and a Rp 1 billion fine or another six months in prison, and Herlan sentenced to 15 years in prison and a Rp 1 billion fine or another six months in jail.

The two companies were hired by CPI to execute its bioremediation program from 2003 to 2011 at the company’s oil and gas field in Riau.

Bioremediation is a method in which metabolic microorganisms are used to remove pollutants for environmental conservation.

(source: The Jakarta Post)