May 9, 2007

More on Extradition

At this point in time, I don't have much to say on this topic. I'm posting the two articles below for my future reference. From the Jakarta Post:

S'pore extradition treaty and fight against corruption
Opinion News - Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Adnan Topan Husodo, Jakarta

Indonesia finally signed extradition and defense treaties with Singapore on April 27. Indonesia had previously signed similar extradition treaties with Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia and Thailand. China and Canada are the next targets.

The new treaty reaffirms the public conviction that corruption is a transnational crime. It is undeniable that embezzlers have so far been free to carry the fruits of corruption out of Indonesia. They have even been able to launder that stolen money through various investments and businesses, which are -- to a certain extent -- very profitable for these people's host countries.

On one side, this kind of activity is very damaging to the country where the corruption originally takes place (locus delicti). Stolen state wealth can no longer be allocated for the social and economic needs of the population.

On the other side, that same money helps develop the economy of the country where corruption fugitives end up. As long as there is no international cooperation to combat corruption, imbalances and inequalities will remain between countries. This is what has happened between Singapore and Indonesia.

The extradition treaty between Indonesia and Singapore as a result needs to be looked at with the collective awareness that corruption can not only be eradicated in the country where the crimes take place. This is in line with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC, 2003), which emphasizes the importance of international cooperation in combating corruption. No less than 138 countries have ratified the convention.

Unfortunately, Singapore is not one of them.

However, Singapore's goodwill in signing the extradition treaty deserves our appreciation. The signing also shows Singapore's successful diplomacy and a more open attitude to solving problems related to transnational crime.

There are at least three important points of substance in the extradition treaty.

First is the list of economic crimes agreed to by Indonesia and Singapore.

Second is the 15-year retroactive period, which enables the government to hunt embezzlers from the Soeharto era, along with their assets.

The last is the agreement to return the assets to Indonesia. Because this is a reciprocal treaty, Singapore can also in theory get the same from Indonesia.

For the Indonesian government, there are some important things to take into account. The extradition treaty with Singapore will not automatically facilitate the legal processes to bring the corrupt to justice.

There are examples where Indonesia's extradition treaties have failed.

There is the example of banker Hendra Rahardja, an Indonesian tried in absentia for corruption while living in Australia. Hendra remained in Australia until his death because the Australian courts would not allow the banker to be deported to Indonesia out of mistrust of the integrity of
Indonesian courts.

Each country has its own different legal mechanisms. This factor can influence the process by which extradition treaties are realized.

Indonesia needs to anticipate from the outset all possible technical and legal barriers to extradition. This is important because many Indonesians expect much from the government to bring these fugitives back to Indonesia.

This extradition treaty is a strategic bilateral mechanism to effectively combat corruption. There are a lot of mega-corruption cases out there, both from the past and the present day. In particular its worth remembering the Bank of Indonesia emergency liquidity funds scandal (BLBI), which inflicted huge financial losses on the government.

Most of the BLBI suspects have fled Indonesia. One of their safe havens is Singapore. According to Indonesian Corruption Watch's (ICW) records, 43 of them are now residing abroad, 13 in Singapore. Some of them have become permanent residents.

Although we have already signed the extradition treaty, it would be impossible to depend on Singapore's political will alone to eradicate corruption. The government needs to be much more serious about bringing the crooks to justice. There is widespread public suspicion that criminals have been easily able to run away from Indonesia with the help of government officials.
This can happen because of poor coordination among state agencies, as well as bribery.

We hope the extradition treaty with Singapore will accelerate the process of legal reform in Indonesia. If we fail to do that, other countries will conclude that Indonesia is not serious about eradicating major corruption. If that is the truth, why should they help us?

The writer is member of the working committee of Indonesia Corruption Watch. He can be reached at
And from the Straits Times:
ST May 9, 2007
Jakarta seeks extradition of 15 over 'stolen funds'
New A-G lays out his priorities; getting those believed to be 'hiding millions in S'pore' among them

JAKARTA - INDONESIA will seek the extradition of 15 businessmen believed to be hiding millions of dollars in stolen state funds in Singapore, its newly-appointed Attorney-General said yesterday.

The extradition issue was on Mr Hendarman Supanji's 'to do' list when he laid out his priorities before reporters yesterday after being named Attorney-General in a Cabinet reshuffle the day before.

The top priority, according to a report in the Suara Pembaruan evening daily, was to set his own house in order by 'cleaning up' the prosecutors' office.

'One of my first to take firm action against unscrupulous prosecutors who abuse their positions and break the law of the land,' said Mr Supanji.

He was referring to strings of cases involving prosecutors accused of demanding bribes and extorting money from suspects.

As for the extradition cases, he did not release details of the 15 on his wanted list.

But local media have identified them as ethnic Chinese Indonesians, many of whom owned commercial banks when the banking system collapsed nearly a decade ago during the Asian financial crisis.

An extradition treaty was signed with Singapore last month, but it has not yet become law. The document covers 31 crimes - including terrorism financing, bribery and related acts of corruption - and applies retroactively to crimes that took place up to 15 years ago.

Indonesia has also signed similar pacts with Malaysia, the Philippines and Hong Kong, and is negotiating similar treaties with China and Canada.

Mr Supanji became the top prosecutor in a Cabinet shake-up under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono aimed partially at countering allegations of being weak on corruption.

He made it clear yesterday that he would come down hard on other areas where dodgy practices are rife. His office would soon summon a number of businessmen who had not settled their loans from the state through Bank Indonesia's credit facilities, or BLBI, which caused trillions of rupiah in state losses.

The Koran Tempo daily website also quoted him as saying that he would target misappropriation of funds at government agencies and aim to stop 'leaks' from state budgets.

The new Attorney-General also pledged that his office would press ahead with a probe into the use of a Justice Ministry bank account for the release of millions of dollars to former president Suharto's son, Tommy, while he was in prison for murder.


A breath of time said...

It is a trap we just stepped into. The Indonesians needed someone to start with, to push the treaties with the other countries into effect.

We cannot change our geographics, or neighbours. But our poor diplomacies and strategies over the last few years, are now back to haunt us.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering - how binding are all these treaties with our neighbours. Now the Indonesians are talking about cutting off gas supplies to us. What happened to the agreement they signed?

simplesandra said...

anon wrote: "What happened to the agreement they signed?"

When you're down, people will kick you in the teeth. And it all started with the huge fiasco in Thailand.

When you alienate even you closest friends like Thailand, you become most vulnerable.

Pity, really. We should be quietly (and unassumingly) enjoying our economic progress, instead of sticking our heads out for others' target practice. One has to know his place in geopolitics to survive, like it or not, and behave accordingly. We can ill-afford a senior minister who goes around accusing his neighbours of this and that.

So PM Lee's in the US drumming up suuport for a war that Americans - even Bush - don't like reminding (just like LKY did). And George Yeo's in the Middle East talking up the Palestinians.

Some people just never learn.

Anonymous said...

One interesting point stood out for me in your article - that of the 13 BLBI suspects who fled to Singapore, some of them have become PRs.

Did you also know that in the recent Siemens worldwide corruption scandal which rocked the business world in April 2007, the CEO (Heinrich von Pierer) who was forced to step down was recently made a Singapore citizen (in March 2007). The investigations were on since early last year and you would think that such a high profile scandal would not go un-noticed by the Singapore government. Yet, they offered the citizenship status to this man. The Singapore newspapers and Channel News Asia gave wide coverage to the scadal but omitted the fact that this man was offered the citizenship by our government. I know this for a fact because it was mentioned in the German corporate newsletter of Siemens.

Makes one question the criterias for becoming a Singapore citizen.

Anonymous said...

The Indonesians are talking about cutting gas supply - PRECISELY because Singapore or its related companies didn't honour the terms of the contract fully.

It's just business. Don't take it too hard.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Interesting. I did a bit of googling. As far as I can tell, Heinrich von Pierer was not actually given Singapore citizenship.

What the S'pore government did give him was an "Honorary Citizen" award, which is not the same as actual citizenship.

Anonymous said...

"Honorary Citizen". Hmm - The Honorary Citizen Award is the highest form of national recognition for a non-
Singaporean and ranks ahead of existing awards - the Public Service Star
(Distinguished Friends of Singapore) Award and the Public Service Medal
(Friends of Singapore) Award.

The award is for life and the privileges for Honorary Citizens include the right to live and work in Singapore for themselves as well as their dependent family members and to purchase property if they decide to stay in Singapore.

Interesting that Singapore honours such a person with such high prestige which comes with such great privileges.

Anonymous said...

I believe simplesandra posted a very relevant comment here> almost every of our ministers had been advising other sovereign leaders how to conduct their businesses< And if not will claimed that foreign countries want to learn and or copy us> I simply do not understand why they(Singapore leadership) did that and what they are trying to prove> When foreigners talked about Singapore politics< they were accused of interfering in internal politics> Very queer indeed!

Anonymous said...

I simply do not understand why they(Singapore leadership) did that and what they are trying to prove> When foreigners talked about Singapore politics< they were accused of interfering in internal politics> Very queer indeed!

Million dollar talk mah..QED!

Anonymous said...

Well... imagine that you are in high office where your word is law and all around you must agree on the basis of your superior intellect / heritage / historical GPA scores.

It becomes part of you.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering Mr Wang, do you actually infringe any copy right law by reproducing those ST articles here?

Anonymous said...

THE unionist answered with a smile when the Prime Minister asked if this year's bonus had been a good one.

"Six months?" Mr Lee Hsien Loong hazarded. The happy worker replied: "Seven."

More than one happy Singaporean unionist had recounted similar stories of an unexpected windfall come bonus time when they met Mr Lee at last week's May Day Rally.

"So, when people say the economy is moving but a lot have been left behind, I think it's not a full picture," said Mr Lee yesterday, talking to the media as he wrapped up his six-day official visit to the United States.

His view — expressed in response to a question on the mood of unionists on May Day — addresses some recently-voiced opinions that Singapore's growth had been skewed towards the "haves", causing the income gap to widen.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the Indonesians to go after the mobs and gangs of rapists who went on a rampage back in 1997. Justice in Indonesia? Depends on how much the bribe is?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"Just wondering Mr Wang, do you actually infringe any copy right law by reproducing those ST articles here?"

Unlikely that they would have any violent objections. But if they did, I'd just remove the articles.

I believe that most of the time, I would probably have the defence of "fair dealing". Its allows for a certain amount of copying for specified purposes.

In deciding whether the use is a fair dealing, the following factors are relevant:

1. whether I'm copying for commercial purposes or for non-profit educational purposes;

2. amount of copying done, relative to the whole work (notice I usually reproduce just excerpts);

3. effect of my use on the potential market for the work, and effect upon its value (I don't seriously think that "Mr Wang Says So" is affecting SPH's profitability).

4. Copying for the purpose of criticism or review; for the purpose of reporting of news; generally would not constitute an infringement. For criticism or review and the reporting of news, a sufficient acknowledgment of the work is required (notice I always say where the article comes from - eg "ST" or "Today" or "Jakarta Post").

"Reporting of the news" generally means any means of communication to the public. Blogs should qualify.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Wang,

sorry for sidestepping the arguments on the extradition treaties. Will you be able to recommend some good reading, whether books or websites, for rudimentary understanding of the law for laymen?

(Your clarification on 'fair dealing' turns out to be very useful for those of us who wish to quote from official sources so to speak.)

Anonymous said...

Can we outsource our government to a better player?
- Keyser Soze

Anonymous said...

Hi I just came across your blog from DebtCC Blog Hunt.It is written in your profile "Most Popular Blogger of Singapore" i think now you are getting popularity on other part of the world.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Wang,
Now that Indonesia has handed over the list of "economic criminals", are you able to provide it here? Or is this still insider information?