Are State-Owned Companies Above the Law?
Pelindo Fails To Comply with State-Ordered Revelation of Reclamation Plans for Port of Benoa
Following Pelindo’s loss before an Indonesian administrative court compelling them to make public documents pertaining to the permits, planning and extensive reclamation of the Port of Benoa in South Bali, apparently prompted the State-owned port authority to invite the plaintiffs, in this case the Indonesian Forum for the Earth (WALHI) and ForBALI, to meet and share planning information.
Metrobali.com reports that on Thursday, June 13, 2019, Pelindo III for to a meeting ostensibly to share the information sought by the environmental groups. Sought by the activists were permits allowing reclamation, a location permit for reclamation, and environmental permits assuring no damage would be caused by the proposed reclamation.
The “document handover” meeting was set at offices of Pelindo at the Port of Benoa attended by the head of WALHI Bali, I Made Juli Untung Pratama, and WALHI’s legal team and the head of the legal team for Pelindo.
When the meeting was convened, Pelindo endeavored to bar members of the public and the press from attending the meeting, but relented when WALHI and members of the press protested that a meeting dealing with government transparency cannot be closed to any interested party.
Once the meeting commenced it became obvious that Pelindo III-Cabang Benoa had little intention of fully complying with the court order and presented no documents authorizing the massive reclamation that has taken place in connection with the Benoa Port Development or the mandatory environmental impact study (AMDAL), required under law. Pelindo strangely insisted that the AMDAL was “not a document.”
In the face of Pelindo III's refusal or inability to produce the reclamation and planning documents, WALHI stated its objections and accused Pelindo of operating in bad faith to comply with the Transparency of Information Commission for Bali ruling. The legal representative of WALHI, Adi Sumiarta, said Pelindo has been ordered to present its environmental permits, including the attachment of the Environmental Impact Study (AMDAL). The environmental impact cannot be legally issued without an accompanying AMDAL. Pelindo’s refusal to present the AMDAL which is, as a matter of law, a public document represents a failure to understand the law and contempt for the Administrative Court’s decision.
WALHI contends that Pelindo is compelled under the decision of the Central Office for Information (KIP) ruling to open all environmental documents and any supporting material. Pelindo is refusing to share the AMDAL and documents related to the massive reclamation of the Port.
Pelindo is arguing that they only need to show the final permits and are not required to show the documents filed in order to gain those permits. Adi complained about Pelindo, “They didn’t present the AMDAL, Environmental Management Plan (RKL), and Environmental Monitoring Plan (RPL).”
Adi Sumiarta compared WALHI’s experience with Pelindo with their earlier experience with Jasa Marga Bali Toll who readily presented the AMDAL and information regarding the Bali toll road construction for public review. Similarly, the managers of Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport had no hesitation in sharing information, permits and the AMDAL related to the reclamation connected with the expansion or aprons and taxiways.
Adi Sumiarta lamented: “I don’t understand why in reclamation of the Port of Benoa by Pelindo III that the information authorized following a hearing the the Commission of Public Information in Bali (KPI-Bali) is not being given. Pelindo is really too much.”
As a result, the WALHI representatives refused the incomplete documentation connected to the reclamation of the Port of Benoa that was offered by Pelindo.
A Mysterious Package
Radar Bali reports that on Friday, June 14, 2019, a day following the meeting between WALHI and Pelindo III, an unusual package arrived in the post at WALHI’s office in Bali from Pelindo III. The package contained a number of documents but had no covering letter explaining the purpose and intent of the package.
Given the lack of any covering or explanatory note, WALHI has classified the package as “mysterious.” The director of WALHI, I Made Juli Untung Pratama, said he had no idea of what were the contents of the package sent be Pelindo III due to its lack of a covering letter.
Based on the thickness of the package, Pratama suspects the contents are composed of the same set of incomplete documents connected with the development of the Port of Benoa refused the previous day at the meeting convened by Pelindo.
Untung Pratama said that if his suspicions are correct about the contents of the package, then Pelindo III has acted in an unethical manner that runs in the face of the ruling of the KPI.
WALHI said it intends to return the mysterious package to Pelindo III while WALHI contiues to seek Pelindo’s complete compliance with transparency laws and the ruling of the administrative court.