NSP found guilty in forest fire, punished with compensation

NSP found guilty in forest fire, punished with compensation

Rasio Ridho Sani. (iisd.ca)

Losses in ecology was caused by the fire on the peat land."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A Jakarta district court on Friday found PT National Sago Prima (NSP) guilty of forest and bush fires and ordered the sago starch producer to pay a total of Rp1.07 trillion to the state in compensation.

The South Jakarta District Court decided on Thursday in favor of the lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, against the subsidiary of PT Sampoerna Agro over forest and bush fires destroying 3,000 hectares of peat lands in the companys forest concession on the island of Mernati, Riau in October 2015.

"After a long process of court investigations, the South Jakarta district court decided yesterday to punish National Sago Prima ordering it to pay a compensation of Rp319,168,422,500," Director General of Law Enforcement of the Forestry and Environment Ministry Rasio Ridho Sani told a news conference here on Friday.

Rasio said in addition to paying Rp319 billion in compensation, NSP was also ordered to pay Rp753 billion for recovery of the damage to the land.

The lawyer of the forestry and environment ministry Patra M. Zen said the court decided almost the same as demanded by the ministry.

Patra said if NSP failed to pay the compensation it is required to pay a fine of Rp50 million per day.

Meanwhile, forest expert from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture Bambang Heru who stood as expert witness in the case said the losses included losses in ecology and opportunity cost

"Losses in ecology was caused by the fire on the peat land. We calculate the role of peat land in holding water, preventing erosion and in maintaining biodiversity," Bambang said.

The forest and bush fire destroyed the peat at a thickness of almost 10 centimeters and could not be fully recovered, he said.

In addition , there were nearly Rp700 billion sacrificed as a result of the forest and bush fires over the concession area of NSP, he said.

NSP, however, has decided to appeal the verdict that the court order could not yet immediately executed by the prosecutor.