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KLHK Arrests 2 Suspects in Illegal Nickel Mining Case in Oko-oko Village

Gakkum KLHK named two PT AG administrators as suspects for committing the crime of illegal nickel mining which damaged the environment in Oko-oko Village, Southeast Sulawesi (Sultra). The suspects arrested were the Director of PT AG, LM (28) and the Commissioner of PT AG, AA (26).

Director General of Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ratio Ridho Sani, said that the two suspects LM and AA were detained by investigators from the Sulawesi Regional LHK Gakkum Center and entrusted to the Kendari Class 2A State Detention Center (Rutan). The evidence confiscated was 17 PC 200 Excavator heavy equipment and deposited at the Kendari Class I State Confiscated Objects Storage House (Rupbasan).

“Investigators charged the two suspects with Article 98 paragraph (1) of the Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 32 of 2009 concerning Environmental Protection and Management (PPLH) in conjunction with Article 55 paragraph (1) 1 of the Criminal Code, with a minimum prison sentence of 3 years and “a maximum of 10 years and a fine of at least IDR 3 billion and a maximum of IDR 10 billion,” he said in a written statement, Monday (13/11/2023).

He said the action was carried out because the two suspects were seeking profit at the expense of the environment and at the expense of the country.

“I have ordered the investigators that in addition to the imposition of the main punishment in the form of imprisonment and a fine as stipulated in Article 98 of the PPLH Law, an investigation into their corporate crimes must be carried out and the imposition of additional criminal penalties. In accordance with Article 119 of the PPLH Law, business entities may be subject to additional criminal penalties or disciplinary action in the form of: Confiscation of Profits and Repairing the Consequences of Criminal Acts, in this case environmental restoration,” he said.

He said that the two suspects and other parties involved must be investigated for Money Laundering Crimes (TPPU) because Environmental Crimes and Forestry Crimes are Predicate Crimes from TPPU as Article 2 paragraph 1 letter w and letter x of Law No. 8 of 2010 concerning Prevention and Eradication of Money Laundering Crimes (PPTPPU).

“The criminal threat of TPPU as stipulated in Article 3 of the PPTPPU Law is a maximum imprisonment of 20 years and a maximum fine of IDR 10 billion. The imposition of additional criminal penalties for corporations in the form of confiscation of assets for the state is carried out in accordance with Article 7 of the PPTPPU Law,” he explained.

He said that a TPPU investigation would be carried out considering that currently KLHK Civil Servant Investigators (PPNS) as investigators of environmental and forestry crimes have received the authority to conduct TPPU investigations based on Constitutional Court (MK) Decision Number: 15/PUU-XIX/2021.

Meanwhile, to accelerate and strengthen TPPU investigators from environmental and forestry crimes, on May 11 2023, a Joint KLHK and PPATK team was formed to investigate suspected TPPU in environmental and forestry crimes.

“Enforcement of multi-layered criminal law including TPPU is carried out in addition to increasing the deterrent effect on the main beneficiaries (beneficiary ownership) of this crime. This effort is to restore environmental losses and state losses,” he said.

“From the cases of illegal mining that have been prosecuted so far, the imposition of basic penalties in the form of imprisonment and fines alone does not seem to have enough of a deterrent effect. The imposition of additional penalties in the form of confiscation of profits and TPPU is our priority so that it can really have a deterrent effect,” ” he continued.

He said it was hoped that these various actions would be a lesson for all parties so as not to commit environmental crimes for nickel, coal and tin mining.

“We believe that the TPPU investigation through the joint KLHK and PPATK teams as well as the support of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Police will be able to provide a deterrent effect and target the main beneficiaries of this crime through financial flows, follow the money follow the suspect,” he said.

Meanwhile, Head of the KLHK Gakkum Center for the Sulawesi Region, Aswin Bangun, said that the handling of this illegal mining case started with a public report regarding illegal nickel mining activities which were suspected of not having a permit.

He said that this additional illegal activity had been carried out since 2022 with LM and AA in charge. According to him, the two suspects had carried out mining without being equipped with a Mining Business Permit (IUP), Environmental Business Permit and Environmental Documents (AMDAL).

“Receiving this information, the Sulawesi Regional LHK Gakkum Center formed a Natural Resources Rescue Operations Team to follow up on the community report,” said Aswin.

On the other hand, Plt. Director of Forest Prevention and Security, Sustyo Iriyono, said that his party would continue to develop the case.

“We will continue to develop this case to reveal the possibility that there are other perpetrators involved, including corporations. We have received orders from the Director General of Gakkum, KLHK to explore the implementation of TPPU investigations and joint investigations in handling this illegal mining case,” said Sustyo.

He also appreciated the support of parties such as Brimob and Ditreskrimsus Polda Southeast Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi Prosecutor’s Office, Rupbasan Class 1 Kendari and the community regarding the discovery of this case.

“As a form of the government’s commitment to stop environmental crimes, including illegal mining crimes, over the past few years, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has carried out 2,016 forest security, illegal logging and TSL operations and brought 1,449 cases to court (P-21),” he concluded.

Source: Detik News