notes Monsanto played fair
JAKARTA, January 13, 2005,The Jakarta Post,
Muninggar Sri Saraswati: Former state
minister for environment Nabiel Makarim was
cited as admitting on Wednesday that U.S.-based
Monsanto Co., one of the world's leading developers
of genetically modified (GM) crops, had lobbied
him to facilitate its business in Indonesia,
adding, "There was lobbying, but it was
in line with the law. It's something common."
The story says that Monsanto agreed last week
to pay a US$1 million penalty to the U.S.
Department of Justice, which charged the company
with violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices
Act when it bribed certain Indonesian government
officials to allow it to develop GM crops
in this country. It also agreed to pay another
$500,000 to the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Nabiel also admitted that he had a close relationship
with Harvey Goldstein, the president director
of the Jakarta-based Harvest International
Indonesia business consulting company, which
according to KPK was hired by Monsanto to
lobby the Indonesian government for legislation
and ministerial decrees supporting the development
of GM crops.
However, Nabiel claims that he has no knowledge
of Monsanto paying bribes to employees of
the environment ministry.
January 6, 2005, Financial
Times as reported by CropChoice.com: Monsanto,
the agrochemical company, is to pay $1.5m in penalties
to the US government over a bribe paid in Indonesia
in a bid to bypass controls on the screening of new
genetically modified cotton crops.
According to a criminal complaint by the Department
of Justice on Thursday under US anti-bribery laws, the
company paid $50,000 to an unamed senior Indonesian
environmental official in 2002, in an unsuccesful bid
to amend or repeal the requirement for the environmental
impact statement for new crop varieties.
The cash payment was delivered by a consultant working
for the company's Indonesian affiliate, but was approved
by a senior Monsanto official based in the US, and disguised
as consultants fees.
The company also admitted that it had paid over $700,000
in bribes to various officials in Indonesia between
1997 and 2002, financed through improper accounting
of its pesticide sales in Indonesia.
As part of the agreement with the DoJ and the Securities
and Exchange Commission, Monsanto has also pledged to
appoint independent consultants to review its business
practices over a three year period, when the criminal
charges against it would be dropped permanently by the
Christopher Wray, assistant US attorney general, said
in a statement that the agreement required Monsanto's
full cooperation and acceptance of responsibility for
the wrong-doing. "Companies cannot bribe their
way into favorable treatment by foreign officials,"
Monsanto's general counsel Charles Burson said that
"Monsanto accepts full responsibility for these
improper activities, and we sincerely regret that people
working on behalf of Monsanto engaged in such behavior".
Monsanto said it had first become aware of financial
irregularities in its Indonesian affiliates in 2001,
and had begin an an internal investigation, which continued
at the direction of its board of directors.
The company also said it had voluntarily notified US
government officials of the results of this investigation,
and had fully cooperated with the investigations by
the DoJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The attempt to circumvent environmental controls on
genetically-modified crops in a developing country is
a significant embarrasment for Monsanto, which is engaged
in an ongoing campaign to win public support in the
European Union for its genetically modified crops.