A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil, Jakarta – The Environment and Forestry Ministry has named an individual identified as IQ, the commissioner of logging company CV. Sumber Berkat Makmur (SBM), a suspect in an illegal logging case in Sabuai village, Eastern Seram regency, Maluku.
The ministry's law enforcement division for Maluku and Papua has seized a wheel loader, two bulldozers and 25 logs of various varieties and sizes as evidence in the case.
Investigators suspect the logs came from the Sabuai indigenous village, where residents had been involved in disputes with the logging company.
The division's head, Yosep Nong, said his office was looking into the case. "We seized the evidence as we obtained a warrant from a district court," he said in a statement.
IQ has been charged under the 2013 law on forest destruction, which carries a maximum punishment of 15 years' imprisonment and a Rp 100 billion (US$6.3 million) fine.
The indigenous community of Sabuai has protested the company's operations near Mount Ahwale. The police detained two people and named them suspects in mid-February for allegedly damaging heavy equipment belonging to the logging company.
The ministry's law enforcement director general, Rasio Ridho Sani, said illegal logging was among the ministry's priority agendas, as such activity was rampant in Maluku and Papua, among other regions.
"We have prosecuted 389 illegal logging cases. The practice has not only caused financial losses to the state but also endangered people's lives as it disrupts nature's balance," Rasio said.