Indonesia arrests executives of Golden Agri units in bribery probe

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia's anti-graft agency has arrested seven people, including a senior executive of palm oil firm Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology, in connection with a bribery case, an official at the agency said on Sunday (Oct 28).

The Corruption Eradication Commission, known as KPK, named the vice-president director of Sinar Mas Agro, Edy Saputra Suradja; chief executive of PT Binasawit Abadi Pratama, Willy Agung Adipradhana; and some members of Central Kalimantan Parliament as suspects in the case, KPK Deputy chief Saut Situmorang told Reuters.

Both Sinar Mas Agro and Binasawit are subsidiaries of Singapore-listed palm oil giant Golden Agri-Resources.

The people are accused of bribing parliamentarians to avoid an investigation into Binasawit's plantation permits and palm processing waste near Sembuluh lake in the Borneo island, Dy Chief Situmorang said.

Golden Agri, in a statement following the arrest, said: "The company will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation and hopes that the issues can be resolved as quickly as possible".

It called the case "gravely concerning and regrettable" and stated that its Indonesian operations and subsidiaries must be managed in accordance to the law and regulations in the country.

A statement on behalf of both Sinar Mas Agro and Binasawit said all parties are fully cooperating with the investigation.

Reuters could not immediately reach Suradja, Adipradhana or their lawyers for comment.

Indonesia is the world's top producer of palm oil. It has faced pressures from international buyers and environmentalists to make the industry more sustainable.

Central Kalimantan Parliament had received complaints from residents that palm waste, allegedly from Binasawit's plantation, had polluted Sembuluh lake, Dy Chief Situmorang said.

During a site visit to investigate the matter, Parliament members found problems with Binasawit's permit for use of forest areas, he said. He did not elaborate.

In the operation, KPK confiscated 240 million rupiah (S$21,797.52) the authorities suspect had been intended as bribe money, Dy Chief Situmorang said.