Indonesia detains rice company official for alleged false labelling

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Indonesian police have detained the Chief Executive of a rice company, PT Indo Beras Unggul (IBU), over alleged false product labelling, police said on Wednesday.

This came as government moves to rein in prices of the staple.

Food prices are a politically sensitive issue because of their impact on the poor, with the Indonesian government blaming high prices on food hoarding and speculators.

However, some analysts credit the country’s self-sufficiency policy.

 

 

IBU, a unit of food company, PT Tiga Pilar Sejahtera Food, is suspected to have displayed incorrect information on rice products and misstated the quality of two brands, National Police spokesman, Martinus Sitompul, said.

Violations of business competition rules and laws on food and consumer protection are among the charges facing IBU president-director, Trisnawan Widodo, Sitompul told reporters.

“Today his detention begins,” he told a news conference.

“If convicted of the charges, the chief executive could face up to 20 years in prison,’’ officials have said.

 

 

“In spite of a similarity in names, he is not related to Indonesia’s president.

“Police are also investigating IBU for possible money laundering linked to its rice sales,’’ Sitompul said, adding that the investigation “is still in an early stage and there is a series of further investigations’’.

Media could not reach Trisnawan Widodo or a representative for comment.

An official of parent company, Tiga Pilar, did not respond to telephone calls and a text message from media to seek comment.

Late last month, police raided an IBU warehouse near Jakarta, the capital, confiscating more than 1,000 tonnes of rice and alleging that the company bought lower quality grain and sold it as premium rice.

The company has denied the allegations. Shares of Tiga Pilar fell 4.3 per cent on Wednesday, underperforming a gain of 0.3 per cent in the benchmark index. (Reuters/NAN)

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