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Nature’s Secrets

Bali Forestry Department Refusing to Comply with Freedom of Information Orders on Development of South Bali Mangrove Forest

(6/7/2013) According to Bali Post, although Bali Friends of the Earth (WALHI-Bali) won their freedom of information suit against the provincial government of Bali declaring their right to view documents from Bali’s Department of Forestry in connection with the long-term lease of mangrove forests to PT Tirta Rahmat Bahari, the requested information has yet to be handed over as ordered by the courts.

The Department of Forestry has reportedly failed to hand over the documents sought by WALHI and ordered to be disclosed by the Information Commission. In finding in favor of WALHI, the government exempted bank records of PT Tirta Rahmat Bahari that were deemed protected under the bank secrecy laws, the master budget for the project and design maps.

Adi Sumiarta, a WALHI activist told the press on Wednesday, June 5, 2013: “After the information hearing, the Forestry Service remains unchanged. Moreover, they tend to be closed up for the disclosure of information.”

Adi said the documents yet to be handed over to WALHI include the map showing the limits of the area in the mangrove forest to be controlled by PT Tirta Rahmat Bahari; and “Book III” detailing the design plans for the tourism infrastructure of the park

WALHI Bali continues to end letter requesting the court-mandated copies to the head of the Forestry Service. After waiting 10 working days there has yet to be a response from the Forestry Department.

An activist from Frontier Bali, Pande Nyoman Taman, reacted, saying:”This cannot be allowed. The Provincial Government of Bali has no good faith as the many documents ordered to be disclosed are still being guarded as secrets.”

Meanwhile, efforts to contact the head of the Bali Provincial Forestry Office and senior staff have been absent from their office since Thursday, claiming they are all attending a training course in Jakarta.