Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Police Investigators ransacked several warehouses of stated-owned salt firm PT Garam in Surabaya, East Java, in connection with alleged misappropriation of 75 thousand tons of industrial salt imports.

"Today the team is working in Surabaya to conduct a search," said Director of Special Economic Crime of the Police Headquarters Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim), Agung Setya said here on Sunday.

He explained that in December 2016, the government determined that the national need for salt consumption is 226 thousand tons.

To protect the interests of small salt farmers, the state-owned enterprise which was allowed to consumerssalt is PT Garam.

Then PT Garam proposed to import 75 thousand tons.

"But then we find irregularities in the realization," he said.

On March 1, 2017, PT Garam summoned 53 salt companies producing consumers salt to calculate their salt needs. In addition, PT Garam also gathered six importer companies from India and two importer companies from Australia.

On the same day, PT Garam appointed a company from Australia to import 55 thousand tons to Indonesia.

"Then one company from India is asked to import 20 thousand," he said.

But President Director of PT Garam, Achmad Boediono changed the plan to import consumers salt into industrial salt to avoid 10 percent import duty.

"Without a 10 percent import duty payment, the state is estimated to suffer a loss of at least Rp3.5 billion," he said.

By April 2017, as many as 75 thousand tons of industrial salt had been imported into Indonesia.

PT Garam allegedly processed the imported industrial salt into salt for consumption. "NaCl content in consumers salt should not be more than 97 percent, but the lab test results show that the imported salt contained 99 percent NaCl," he said.

In the investigation of the case, Bareskrim investigators found 1000 tons of industrial salt being processed into packs of consumption salt in four warehouses owned by PT Garam in Gresik, East Java.

While the remaining 74 thousand tons of industrial salt has been sold to 53 companies using the price of consumption salt. "Whereas in fact, the salt sold to them is industrial salt," he said.

As stated in Article 10 of the Minister of Trade Regulation No. 125 of 2015 on Salt Imports, industrial salt importers are prohibited to sell/transfer industrial salt to other parties, Setya stated.

Achmad Boediono who is the President Director of PT Garam (Persero) has been named a suspect in the alleged criminal acts of importation and distribution of the industrial salt.

"The suspect was arrested at his house in Jati Bening Village, Pondok Gede District, Bekasi City West Java," Setya said in a short message on Saturday.

The suspect allegedly violated the provisions as regulated in Article 62 of Consumer Protection Law, Article 3 of Corruption Act and Article 3 and Article 5 of Law on the Prevention and Eradication of TPPU (Money Laundering). Under the regulations, the suspect is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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