Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Bahlil dismisses accusation of fraudulent practices  

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Gusty da Costa

Journalist

Editor

Interview

Minister of Investment Head of Investment Coordinating Board Bahlil Lahadalia has dismissed several accusations made against him of fraudulent practice by setting tarrifs or fees for mining companies seeking reactivation of their rescinded mining business permits. 

Bahlil said that while referring to Presidential Decree No. 1/2021, it is not the authority of the task force for the acceleration of investment to verify 2,078 mining business permits (IUPs). 

“I would like to clarify their perception on Presidential Decree No. 11/2021, accusing that the task force for the acceleration of investment of having verified 2,078 IUPs. It  was a big lie,” Bahlil told a hearing with members of the House of Representatives’ (DPR) Investment and Industry Commission VI on Monday, April 1, 2024. 

Earlier, the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) has accused Minister of Investment/Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Bahlil Lahadalia of fraudulent practices by setting tariffs or fees for mining companies seeking reinstatement of their rescinded licenses. 

The polemics over the mining licensing began in May 2021, when President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo issued Presidential Decree No. 11/2021 on the Investment Acceleration Task Force. Through this Presidential Decree, Jokowi appointed Bahlil as Head of the Task Force with the main task of ensuring investment realization and resolving licensing issues. The decree also allows Bahlil to track unproductive mining and plantation permits.

In January 2022, Jokowi issued Presidential Decree No. 1/2022 on Land Management and Investment Structuring Task Force. This decree mandated Bahlil to chair the Task Force, whose tasks include revoking mining permits, business use rights, and forest area concessions as well as providing facilities for community organizations, cooperatives, and others to obtain land.

In October 2023, President Jokowi issued Presidential Regulation No. 70/2023 on Land Allocation for Investment Arrangement, which authorizes the Task Force led by Bahlil to also revoke mining permits, plantations, and forest concessions, as well as grant land utilization permits for mass organizations, cooperatives and others.

Along the way, the Task Force has revoked 1,118 Mining Business Licences (IUP) and 15 Forest Area Utilization Permits (IPPKH). These permits are part of the 2,078 IUPs, 192 Forestry Sector Permits (ISKs), and 34,448 hectares of abandoned plantation cultivation permits (HGUs) that President Jokowi announced in January 2022. 

According to Bahlil, the recovation of 2,078 mining business permits are the results of verification and identification carried out by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources.

“The revocation of 2,078 mining business permits were not determined by the task force based on the presidential decree number 1/ 2022,” he said. 

Bahlil added that the accusation that mining companies have to pay as a tribute to him in order to have their permits reactivated was a lie, citing that to re-activate a permit that has been revoked is a collective collegial process. As investment minister/head of investment coordinating board, Bahlil said, he cannot just sign a reactivation letter. 

“I have to consult with the task force, which consists of personnel of technical ministry and the investment ministry. If an investment ministry official wants to sign the re-activation letter, but his/her colleague of the technical ministry refuse to sign, the re-activation of permit cannot be executed. Or vice versa,” he said. 

Bahlil said he has filed a complaint with law enforcement institutions regarding the defamation against his institution and his personal reputation. 

“I already asked the police to examine and question my team (task force members), and 33 nickel companies which have had their permits re-activated,” he said. 

Clarification on Bahlil’s nickel company 

In the hearing with the Commission VI, Bahlil also clarified that the task force did not revoke the mining busines permit under the name of PT Meta Mineral Pradana (MMP), a nickel mining company with two mining licenses in North Konawe, Southeast Sulawesi. According to local media report, the company had not been operating for a long time despite having two permits. 

Bahlil cited that the owner of PT Meta Mineral Pradana is PT Bersama Papua Unggu, which he bought in 2012. 

“Before being appointed a Cabinet minister, I was not unemployed. I got the mining business permit by procedures and not by negotiation, I pay the taxes,” he said. 

The task force for investment acceleration did not revoke MMP’s permit was because the company had the work plan and budget (RKAB). Based on an ESDM ministry’s stipulation, the government can only revoke permit of inoperational company that has no RKAB. However, Bahlil admitted that said his company at the time had no forest area utilization permits (IPPKH). 

The government, he added, cannot revoke a mining business permit that has no IPPKH because a businessman has the right to apply for IPPKH, but it is the government who has the authority to grant the forest permit. 

His company, PT Meta Mineral Pradana has applied for the IPPKH since 2015, while the Environment and Forestry Ministry just issued the forest permit in 2022. “Now, we are working on the conssesion,” he cited.

Gusty da Costa

Journalist

 

Editor

 

Interview

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