KPK Urged to Investigate Alleged Smuggling of Nickel Ores to China
Jakarta. Chief Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan revealed on Tuesday that he was informed by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) about the alleged smuggling of 5 million tons of nickel ores to China.
He claimed he had instructed the commission to intensify the investigation into the matter. The tipoff regarding the smuggling was forwarded to Luhut by KPK Chairman Firli Bahuri.
"Mr. Firli has told me about allegations of the smuggling of 5 million tons of [unprocessed] nickel and I asked him to investigate the source [of the smuggling]. That won’t be a difficult thing to do," Luhut told reporters after a meeting at the KPK building in Jakarta.
Indonesia had imposed a ban on the export of unprocessed nickel ores since January 1, 2020, as part of its efforts to promote the domestic processing industry and enhance the added value of mining products. However, despite the ban, there have been reports of alleged smuggling of nickel ores from major mining sites in Sulawesi and North Maluku to China.
To tackle smuggling effectively, the government established a maritime task force. However, Luhut acknowledged the challenges posed by Indonesia's vast number of seaports, which allow smugglers to evade authorities and escape justice.
"Keep in mind that we are the world’s biggest archipelago. Too many ports can trigger smuggling,” he said. Indonesia has more than 110 ports big and small across the sprawling archipelago.
Nonetheless, Luhut said that by using ITC technology, the KPK could easily trace the sources of the illegal export of nickel ores to China.
A KPK official said last month there was a tipoff on the alleged smuggling of nickel ores from January 2020-June 2022 based on data from the Chinese customs office’s website.
The nickel ores allegedly came from major mining sites in Sulawesi and North Maluku, according to KPK’s regional coordination and supervision task force head Dian Patria.
Although smuggling is not typically within the purview of the KPK's investigation mandate, the commission can initiate inquiries into potential bribery involving state officials in connection with the case.Tags: