The story of ‘a key architect’ of REDD

You hear that Todd Stern, the United States envoy at Cancun is being ‘obstructionist’ and that he is harping on and on about transparency.

In October last year, the Indonesian government warned regents and mayors who have jurisdiction over local REDD programs in that country. It asked them to ‘carefully review all carbon brokerage firms offering incentives such as huge financial benefits from the forestry sector for engaging in carbon trading’, according to this report in the the Jakarta Post.

Who was the person who issued the warning? Wandojo Siswanto, ‘Advisor’ to tne Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia and Indonesia’s lead negotiator at the Copenhagen UN conference.

Wandojo Siswanto

The Jakarta Post reported:

Forestry Ministry official Wandojo Siswanto said over the weekend that many carbon brokers were now directly approaching regents and mayors, asking them to sign memorandums of understanding (MoU) to develop projects under the REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) scheme.

It continued,

Wandojo said the brokers would then sell the MoUs on the international market as part of an elaborate money-making scheme.

In December last year, at a Copenhagen ‘side event’, under the gentle glow of golden backlighting, WWF Indonesia observed Siswanto describe Indonesia’s numerous REDD projects his ministry was handling: with Australia, South Korea, Germany, the UN-REDD, the World Bank, and the Nature Conservancy:

“Those numerous demonstration activities will soon contribute most valuable learnings for feasible REDD mechanism, not only for Indonesia but also globally,” Wandojo Siswanto added with great optimism and confidence.

(c) WWF Indonesia Side event on Indonesian REDD

In March this year, Reuters reported Wandojo Siswanto’s visit to Washington DC in the US. It spoke of requests for ‘quick fund’ injections:

Wandojo Siswanto, chairman of Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry, told Reuters that he hoped President Barack Obama’s visit to his country next week might result in a bilateral agreement to enhance U.S.-Indonesian forest management collaboration.

Wandojo and Basah Hernowo, Indonesia’s director for forestry and water resources conservation, also said that a quick injection of international aid funds, separate from the “offsets,” were needed to help developing countries like Indonesia tackle global warming.

What kind of ‘quick funds’ were they seeking? A Climatewire report has some clues:

Most controversially, the plan might also allow rich countries to claim credits that offset their own fossil fuel output. Indonesian officials are hoping that out of Obama’s visit come a partnership and funds from an early $3.5 billion “fast start” REDD fund pledged by six nations last year

In October this year, reported:

Wandojo Siswanto, one of the lead negotiators for Indonesia’s delegation at last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen and a key architect of its Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) program, has been arrested and charged with receiving bribes.

Wandojo, who is being held in Jakarta, was questioned this week by investigators from Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). He is accused of receiving a bribe of about $10,000 from Anggoro Widjojo, a director of PT Masaro Radiokom, to win favorable treatment in the Ministry of Forestry’s budget for the telecommunications company.

Director of PT Masaro Radiokom Putranevo A Prayugo (c) Portatiga

Wandojo told Reuters that he just found $10,000 on his desk one day, which he kept for four months. He also thought it could not have been a bribe because the budget for the year was over.

“It was just put on my table. I was not brave enough to make a report to the KPK at that time,” he said, adding that he held onto the money for about four months, then gave it to the KPK.

“I never asked for that kind of money,” Siswanto said, adding that he didn’t think it was a bribe because it was given after the budget had already been arranged. “The money didn’t make me do something.”

The Reuters article carried KPK Deputy Director Chandra Hamzah’s opinion on the forestry sector:

It is a source of unlimited corruption.

Chandra Hamzah and his colleague Bibit Samad Rianto at the KPK were dramatically detained about year back briefly, in connection to dealings cases pursued against Widjojo Anggodo. Widjojo Anggodo was a director of PT Masaro Radiocom supplying Motorola handsets that allegedly bribed Siswanto. The move caused national outrage as Chandra and his colleague Bibit were “widely respected“.

Today, news outlets from Indonesia report (for e.g., here, here) on Wandojo Siswanto’s trial. (Google translation)

Advisor to the Minister of Forestry (Forestry), Wandojo Siswanto [indicted] of accepting bribes from suppliers Kemenhut PT Masaro Radiocom. While serving as Planning and Finance Kabiro Kemenhut, Wandojo accused has received money amounting to Rp 20 million and U.S. $ 10 thousand.

The money was given as a reward winning PT Masaro Radiocom be SKRT project procurement executive in 2006 and 2007.

Todd Stern was right.



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