Jakarta gives Singapore a list of fugitives

Part of cooperation to nab those who fled Indonesia after being convicted of crimes

Indonesia has given Singapore a list of fugitives, part of back-channel efforts to nab those who had fled the country after being convicted of crimes.

Mr Atmadji Sumarkidjo, a senior official from the Coordinating Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, said Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi sent the list to the Singapore authorities recently, as both nations intensify cooperation in law enforcement. The cooperation is being conducted in lieu of an extradition treaty.

Indonesia and Singapore signed an extradition treaty as well as a defence cooperation agreement as a package in April 2007, but the pact has yet to be ratified by Indonesian lawmakers .

"We have not ratified the extradition treaty with Singapore, so we do this on the basis of the good relationship between our two countries," Mr Atmadji told The Straits Times yesterday.

"We have sent to Singapore the data of all that we consider as fugitives, who have been convicted, and fled the country. So this is not extradition, it's just good relations."

Mr Atmadji also said leaders from both sides "can pick up the phone and talk" about such issues.

"Menkopolhukam and Menlu can just call Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister (Teo Chee Hean), so it's quick and bypasses bureaucracy," he said, referring to Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan and Ms Retno, respectively.

The latest development comes just days after Vice-President Jusuf Kalla erroneously implied that Singapore was unwilling to sign an extradition agreement with his country. Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs refuted Mr Kalla's remarks a day later on Saturday.

Two days earlier, Singapore revoked Indonesian tycoon and long- time fugitive Hartawan Aluwi's permanent residency and had him removed from the city-state. He is now in Indonesian custody.

Also last Thursday, China extradited Samadikun Hartono, the former head of the now-defunct Bank Modern, who had spent 13 years on the run since his conviction for corruption.

Hartawan had fled to Singapore in 2008 after he was suspected to have misused government funds amounting to 6.7 trillion rupiah (S$686 million) to bail out the now-defunct Bank Century during the 2008 global financial crisis.

Regarding such cases, Singa- pore's Ministry of Home Affairs said previously that the country would "cooperate with and provide assistance to Indonesia within the ambit of our laws and our international obligations".

Mr Atmadji declined to elaborate on the wanted list sent to Singapore, but The Straits Times understands that it comprises citizens who have been convicted of crimes and are believed to have left Indonesia before serving out their sentence. They include those suspected to be hiding in Singapore, as well as those on the run elsewhere.

Law enforcement, anti-corruption and counter-terrorism agencies in Indonesia maintain separate wanted lists and the database shared with Singapore is believed to contain those who are convicted of white-collar crimes.

On Interpol's "Wanted Persons" list are 44 Indonesians sought by the government and they include Hartawan as well as 16 others wanted for fraud, as well as five each for money laundering and banking-related offences. The list also includes Dewi Tantular, who is linked to Hartawan and the Bank Century case.

Mr Luhut on Monday said President Joko Widodo has ordered the government to pursue the country's fugitives. This includes "developing cooperation with the Singaporean Government", he said.

In urging fugitives to return to Indonesia to face the legal process, Mr Luhut added: "The fugitives will not face undue punishment and will only be held responsible for what they have done."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2016, with the headline 'Jakarta gives Singapore a list of fugitives'. Print Edition | Subscribe