IPB Professor Sued by Palm Oil Company, Faces Rp510 Billion Fine

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Bogor Agricultural University’s (IPB) faculty of forestry Professor Bambang Hero Saharjo is currently facing a Rp510 billion lawsuit after he testified as an expert witness against a company that was found guilty of a forest fire that broke out in Jambi.

    “The indictment letter just came in this morning,” said Bambang Hero when Tempo reached him on Tuesday, October 10.

    Bambang recounts that he was summoned by the Forestry and Environment Ministry to be an expert witness in the court-proceeding held last year, where the North Jakarta District Court positioned PT Jatim Perkasa (JJP), linked to palm oil giant Wilmar Group, as the defendant whereas Bambang’s lawsuit is currently listed in the Cibinong District Court.

    Profesor Dr. Ir. Bambang Hero Saharjo. Tempo/M Sidik Permana

    JJP’s lawsuit accuses Bambang of misconduct that goes against the law and presses that the expert witness testimony provided in a court proceeding in 2013 - which found JJP guilty - had been legally debilitating, cannot be proven, and should be legally dropped.

    JJP is also suing Bambang Hero with a Rp510 billion lawsuit.

    The court proceeding in 2013 deemed JJP guilty of damaging the environment, pollution, and letting the company’s 1,000 hectare land burn. Furthermore, on July of 2017, the panel of judges sentenced JJP guilty of the charges and must pay Rp1 billion fine.


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