Pindad to be investigated over arms sales to Philippines
Tue, September 1 2009 10:02 | 1823 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Ministry of State Enterprises (BUMN) will investigate state-owned weapon factory PT Pindad in the wake of its arms sales now being confiscated in the Philippines.
Assault Rifle produced by PT Pindad. (istimewa/ANTARA/*)
"The investigation will be carried out to assure whether or not there is irregularity in the sales of arms produced by Pindad," BUMN Minister Sofyan Djalil said on Monday.
Last Thursday, Philippine customs officers detained Panama-registered cargo ship Capt Ufuk docking off the Mariveles coast. They found 50 SS1-VI Pindad-made assault rifles, several other military devices and 10 empty wooden boxes. They believed the contents of the boxes had been removed before they inspected the ship.
The state firm said it had received an order from the Philippine marksmen association for 10 P2 pistols and an order from Mali for 100 SS1-VI rifles.
The Philippine police alleged that the firearms and rounds of ammunition would be used to supply a terrorist group and criminal organization in Asia and Africa.
At home, Minister Sofyan Djalil said the circulation of arms in the country, including weapons produced by Pindad were tightly controlled by the government. "We will investigate Pindad to know whether the arms export was carried out legally or not," the minister said.
He said that he had received a report from the Pindad management that the arms sales were based on the standing procedures. "But that is not enough. We have to carry out internal investigation soon."
The BUMN ministry which has the authority over Pindad is responsible for the supervision of the company`s activities. "We will look at it based on the corporate principles whether or not it abode by regulations particularly in terms of contracts of production and sales. "If there is a violation, of course, a sanction will be taken," the minister added.
In the meantime, Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said cargo ship Capt Ufuk which carried the arms had made an unscheduled stop-over in Bataan Island, the Philippines, under a request of the supplier. He said when the ship made a stop-over there, several boxes of the assault rifles disappeared.
"The ship made an unscheduled stop-over in the island because it was ordered by the supplier. The Philippine police said the ship should have directly anchored in Manila and discharged the pistols which were destined for the Philippines but several boxes of rifles for Mali had disappeared," he said.
The minister however reluctant to answer a question about the supplier who ordered the ship to make a stop-over in the island of Bataan.
At present, Indonesia is working together with the Philippine police to investigate the question of the unscheduled stop-over.
Sudarsono assured that in term of documents, administration, customs and other documents, the exportation of the arms to the Philippines and Mali was legal.
Moreover, the sending of the arms is under the knowledge of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI and police.
Customs and Excise Director General Anwar Suprijadi said the PT Pindad arms held by the Philippine authorities were legal export commodities and had met the customs procedures.
"The arms exported from Tanjung Priok on August 10, 2009, were completed with export notification papers (PEB). Everything is legal and official because the required papers and documents were all there," he said.
On the possibility that the Philippine customs personnel had a misperception, he said, because of the lack of communication with the buyers, and incomplete ship manifests.
PT Pindad had earlier denied that the firearms were sold illegally saying the weapons were ordered by Mali and the Philippines. The state firm said it had received an order from the Philippine marksmen association for 10 P2 pistols and an order from Mali for 100 SS1-VI rifles.
It said the ordered firearms were put in 20 boxes, including one destined for the Philippines. PT Pindad spokesman Timbul Sitompul said all the weapons found by the Philippine customs officers were ordered by the Philippine and Malian governments .
Earlier, the House of Representatives (DPR) said it would ask the government to clarify the seizure by the Philippine customs authorities of weapons made by Indonesian arms industry PT Pindad.
The House wanted the government to explain the matter now that PT Pindad was overseen by the State Enterprises Ministry, chief of the House Commission for information, defense and foreign affairs Theo Sambuaga said.
Meanwhile, legislator Yusron Ihza Mahendra, a member of the House of Representatives` Commission for defense, information and foreign affairs said the case must be investigated.
All relevant agencies, including the Defense Ministry, the State Enterprises Ministry, the Trade Ministry, the Industry Ministry and the State Audit Board must coordinate in investigating the case, he said.
"The probe is necessary to shed light on whether or not the arms shipment is legal," he said. He said the Philippines might not question the arms shipment if PT Pindad had complete documents.
"How could they (the Philippines) declare their ordered arms illegal?" he asked (*)
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