BILLION DOLLAR WANTED LIST IN BATAK LAND target 1 is MARGA SITORUS.1sitorus in in singapore.and lot more sitorus brothers wanted to be billion dolars family gang.dont matter if it illegal or not..

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News and Views

Tempo Magazine, No. 02/VI/Sept 13 – 19, 2005

Forestry Minister M.S. Kaban has expressed anger at the Sumatra Police for failing to take action against the illegal clearing of production forest for palm oil plantations.

TWO weeks ago, hundreds of supporters crowded around Rajestin Sitorus and Ronidi Sidamanik during their campaign for election as mayor and deputy mayor of Simalungun in North Sumatra.

As the crowd dispersed, one of the supporters made a particularly hasty exit. Escorted by bodyguards, renowned Sumatran businessman Darianus Lungguk Sitorus fled from the campaign in his Mercedes sports car, heading towards Siantar Hotel, the only three-star hotel in Siantar, North Sumatra. After getting out of his car, Sitorus headed to his VIP room to rest after a hard day of campaigning. Outside the room, his escorts remained on guard.

Shortly after, North Sumatra prosecutor Khairil Aswar Harahap approached Sitorus’ bodyguards, asking to meet with Sitorus. “We are supporters of D.L. Sitorus,” Harahap told the bodyguards. “He is currently being massaged, could you please wait a moment,” replied one bodyguard.

After waiting a while, Harahap began to lose patience and demanded to meet with Sitorus. “We are from the prosecutor’s office. And we are carrying a warrant for the arrest of Sitorus,” he told the bodyguards.

Unsure about how to respond to this demand, several of the bodyguards approached Harahap, who had been sent by the North Sumatra High Prosecutor’s Office to arrest Sitorus. “They tried to persuade us to postpone the arrest,” Harahap told Tempo.

Evidently, their efforts failed because Harahap ordered that Sitorus be arrested and taken to Medan, that night. Sitorus himself was unable to resist arrest, although he refused to be escorted in the vehicles sent by the prosecutor’s office. “He insisted on taking his Mercedes,” said Harahap, who granted this request and accompanied Sitorus in his Mercedes.

Sitorus was taken to Medan, escorted by three cars from the prosecutor’s office in addition to police escorts. The next morning, he was flown to Jakarta on a Garuda flight. “The Attorney General’s Office was carrying out the investigations. We were only executing the order,” said Wisnu Subroto, head of the North Sumatra High Prosecutor’s Office.

After reaching Jakarta, Sitorus was taken directly to the AGO headquarters and placed in custody. Dated August 31, 2005 the warrant for his arrest had been signed by the Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes, Hendarman Supandji.

Later that day, prosecutor M. Djasman carried out a marathon questioning of Sitorus, in relation to his role in the clearing of forest in Padang Lawas, North Sumatra. Sitorus has been declared a corruption suspect for his role in this case. The prosecution has charged Sitorus with violating Articles 2 and 3 of Law No. 31/1999 and Law No. 20/2001 on Corruption Crimes. If found guilty of this crime, the palm-oil business mogul faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a Rp1 billion fine.

Sitorus’ lawyers have expressed strong protest against the AGO’s declaration of Sitorus as a corruption suspect. “Our client never corrupted state funds,” said lawyer Dumoli Siahaan, last Wednesday. According to Siahaan, the case involved a dispute over forest land between the Department of Forestry and traditional land owners. Siahaan claims that Sitorus acquired the land from local residents, turning 23,000 hectares of the land into a palm oil plantation under the management of the Bukit Harapan Palm Oil Plantation Cooperative.

However, Minister of Forestry, Malam Sambat Kaban claims that the land was actually production forest, seized by Sitorus without a permit. In 1998, Sitorus controlled about 30,000 hectares of the total 178,000 hectares of forest. In that year, 1,000 tons of wood went missing from the land.

However, Sitorus’ lawyer, Dumili claims that when Sitorus first visited the location, the land had already been partitioned off and was barren. Dumili also claims that Sitorus purchased the land through the traditional process of pago-pago negotiations, paying off village heads and traditional heads. Sitorus reportedly paid Rp2 billion for the land and paid workers another Rp11.74 billion to clear the land.

According to Dumili, Sitorus set up his palm oil plantation following a traditional model. He managed to organize land ownership certificates for 9,200 local residents—his partners in the project. Sitorus then employed 7,500 local residents in order to gain his permit to use the land for business.

However, Minister Kaban remains suspicious about Sitorus’ acquisition of the disputed land, which Kaban maintains was production forest. Kaban also questioned why local police never took action against Sitorus. Local regional legislative council members (DPRD) have also questioned why no action has been taken against Sitorus. “This is an old case. In fact, six police chiefs have come and gone, yet no action has been taken against Sitorus,” Kaban told Tempo.

Frustrated with local police unwillingness to take action against Sitorus, Kaban eventually reported the case to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who ordered that Sitorus be investigated by the AGO.

However, Kaban remains concerned that AGO prosecutors only indicted Sitorus on corruption charges, failing to charge the palm-oil mogul with other crimes. Kaban himself believes that prosecutors should have pressed broader charges against Sitorus. “The indictment should be comprehensive,” he commented.

Kaban also expressed concerns that investigations over the case could be terminated under an SP3 order. Such an order was delivered by the North Sumatra Police Department earlier this year, on grounds of insufficient evidence against Sitorus. Prior to this, North Sumatra Police investigators charged Sitorus with the violation of general crimes under the Criminal Code.

Maria Hasugian, Hambali Batubara


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