After Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) Deputy for Enforcement Inspector-General Karyoto called Singapore a ‘paradise for fugitives of corruption’, the Indonesian government agency has released a statement of apology to Singapore on Saturday (10 Apr) for his remarks.
On 6 April this year, Karyato said that “the nearest haven for the corrupt is Singapore”, adding that the city-state is one of the few countries that did not sign an extradition agreement with Indonesia, the country’s local newspaper Wartakota reported.
“We know that one of the countries that didn’t sign an extradition related to corruption is Singapore,” he said. He went on to note that capturing corrupt fugitives who hold permanent residency in Singapore was not a “simple matter”.
If that’s not all, Karyoto also stated that the KPK had attempted to work with the Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau (CPIB) in Singapore in the handling of Sjamsul Nursalim, an Indonesian business mogul living in the Republic, but to no avail.
Karyoto’s remarks were carried by Indonesian media outlets.
In response to this, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) released a statement on Friday (9 April) calling Karyoto’s allegations baseless, adding that the city-state has provided assistance to Indonesia on a number of past and ongoing investigations.
“There is no basis to the allegations. Singapore has provided assistance to Indonesia on several past and ongoing investigations. For example, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) has assisted the KPK in serving summons requests to persons under investigation,” said MFA’s spokesperson.
The spokesperson added, “Singapore has also been helpful to the Indonesian authorities by providing confirmation on the whereabouts of specific Indonesian nationals under investigation. 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.”
“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,” MFA’s spokesperson stressed.
Following this, KPK released a statement in response to Karyoto’s comments, stating that it is sorry for the “inconvenience” caused.
“We wish to emphasize that the aforementioned statement is not intended to disparage any system or laws prevailing in the country of Singapore,” the statement read.
It continued, “The KPK and the CPIB (Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau) have long collaborated closely in anti-corruption efforts in accordance with each agency’s capacities and duties, including in the areas of prevention, education, and law enforcement.”
KPK also stated that the CPIB has “frequently cooperated” with it in investigating corruption cases, adding that it is “grateful for the CPIB for all the cooperation and valuable assistance provided throughout the years”.
In those cases, the KPK noted it has received assistance in the form of witness interview facilitation, information exchange and asset tracing from the CPIB.
“We hope and trust that the KPK and the CPIB will continue to maintain friendly relations and communications, in the mutual commitment to cooperate in fighting corrupt practices.
“As methods used by criminals to commit corruption and evade law enforcement grow more “advanced and go beyond national borders, we believe it is of utmost importance that states engage in dialogues to expand forms of cooperation to improve the effectiveness and tackle the hurdles in the law enforcement process,” the Indonesia government agency said.