Wilmar fires entire compliance department

Posted on 21 June 2013

Hires new staff from fired officers at Sime Darby

Stock picture of slashed and burnt land in Indonesia. Orang Utans used to live there.

Stock picture of slashed and burnt land in Indonesia. Orang Utans used to live there.

Singapore-listed Wilmar International Ltd has fired its entire compliance department after it found that its local contractors in Indonesia were clearing land for its oil palm business by burning. In a statement emailed to New Nation, the world’s largest palm oil firm reiterated its policy of “zero burning“, and that measures had been taken to tighten its policy enforcement on the ground.

“We have punished those responsible for the lapse in our corporate policy though we still cannot prevent local practices of slash-and-burn for agricultural and other purposes,” said Wilmar CEO Kuok Khoon Hong who is also the seventh richest person in Singapore, according to Forbes and is estimated to be worth US$ 2.6 billion.

Wilmar is now on a hiring spree for new compliance officers. However one source from WIlmar’s human resources department says that positions have already been informally filled up.

“Cargill, Sime Darby, Golden Agri… they’ve had zero burn policies for years which were only for show. All those firms whose negligence have led to the haze situation have all fired their compliance departments. We’re just playing a game of musical chairs now,” said Wilmar’s human resources manager Ai Huan Bao, who is a supporter of Greenpeace.

Not all compliance officers are happy with this new development though. Having had to massage the books to cover up extensive facilitation payments in Indonesia, one has decided to leave the industry altogether.

“The last straw came when I had to send my wife to work amid the PSI 400 haze,” said Bo Zho Kang who used to work for Sime Darby. “It reminded me of the cigarette filled air at the sheds in our Indonesian oil plantation where I waited for Agung Laksono to finish having sex with animals. Then I realised that I’m not being paid enough to sit through this shit.”

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