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Indonesia’s anti-graft body has billed environmental destruction as an official state loss for the first time, citing the case of a nickel mining company in Sulawesi province amid fears of mismanagement in the sector.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said recently the damage wrought by PT Anugrah Harisma Barakah in Kabena Island, in the southeast of the province, has cost the government an estimated US$4 billion.
The company was granted the right to exploit 3,000 hectares of land but it has destroyed the ecosystem of the island and jeopardized oil deposits, officials claim.
Nur Alam, the governor of Southeast Sulawesi, has been detained since 2017 by the commission for alleged corruption in awarding the permit to the mining company.
The anti-graft commission is now processing his case. If he is found guilty, he could face up to 18 years in jail and a fine of US$77,000. “We’ve been studying Nur Alam’s case [to measure] the impact in terms of the loss to the state,” said Brig. Gen Arief Sulistyanto, a senior KPK member.
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