No basis to Indonesia's allegations that S'pore is a 'paradise for fugitives of corruption': MFA

MFA said that Singapore has been providing assistance to Indonesia on several past and ongoing investigations.

Fasiha Nazren | Julia Yeo | April 09, 2021, 06:46 PM

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has responded to comments made by Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Deputy for Enforcement Inspector-General Karyoto, who remarked that Singapore is a "paradise for fugitives of corruption".

Indonesian anti-corruption deputy chief calls S'pore "paradise for fugitives of corruption"

The remarks, which were carried by Indonesian media outlets, were rejected by MFA, which called the allegations baseless.

On Apr. 6, Karyoto said that "the nearest haven for the corrupt is Singapore", and explained that Singapore is one of the few countries that did not sign an extradition agreement with Indonesia, reported Wartakota.

"We know that one of the countries that didn't sign an extradition related to corruption is Singapore," he said, adding that capturing corrupt fugitives who have permanent residency in Singapore was not a "simple matter".

He also remarked that the KPK had tried to work with the Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau (CPIB) in Singapore in the handling of Sjamsul Nursalim, an Indonesian business tycoon living in Singapore, but to no avail.

Allegations made have no basis, S'pore has provided assistance: MFA

In response to the allegations, a spokesperson from MFA said that the comments made by the Indonesian anti-corruption official had "no basis", and that Singapore has provided assistance to Indonesia on several past and ongoing investigations.

MFA highlighted that the CPIB has assisted the KPK in serving summons requests to persons under investigation.

Singapore has also been helpful to the Indonesian authorities by providing confirmation on the whereabouts of specific Indonesian nationals under investigation, the ministry said.

"Singapore facilitated a visit by the KPK to Singapore in May 2018 to interview a person of interest in their investigations. KPK Deputy Chairman Nawawi Pomolango had noted the KPK’s coordination with CPIB via a public statement on 30 December 2020," MFA added.

Extradition treaty with Indonesia pending ratification by Indonesia

Regarding the comment that Singapore did not sign an extradition agreement with Indonesia, MFA said that both countries had already signed the Extradition Treaty and Defence Cooperation Agreement as a package in April 2007, which was witnessed by then-Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

However, both agreements are still pending ratification by the Indonesian House of Representatives.

"Nevertheless, Singapore has provided and will continue to provide the necessary assistance to Indonesia, if Singapore receives a request with the necessary information through the appropriate official channels," MFA clarified.

Singapore and Indonesia are party to the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) in Criminal Matters among like-minded Asean member countries, under which cooperation already takes place in line with Singapore’s domestic laws and international obligations, the ministry added.

"Singapore has repeatedly provided assistance to Indonesia on its MLA requests. Singapore has also worked to strengthen cooperation through Asean, where discussions on an Asean Extradition Treaty are ongoing.

Singapore is firmly committed to the rule of law and good governance. We will cooperate in law enforcement with Indonesia in accordance with our domestic laws and international obligations. It is not helpful to divert attention or blame to foreign jurisdictions."

Top image adapted via MFA & Google Maps