MFA refutes reports that graft suspect is hiding in Singapore

Singapore yesterday refuted Indonesian news reports that say fugitive graft suspect and oil firm founder Honggo Wendratno is in Singapore and that he is a Singapore permanent resident.

"According to our immigration records, Honggo Wendratno is not in Singapore," said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

"This has already been conveyed to the Indonesian authorities on multiple occasions since 2017. There are also no records of Honggo holding Singapore permanent residency."

The spokesman was responding to articles in the Indonesian media quoting several senior officials from the Indonesian National Police Criminal Investigation Division, or Bareskrim, and members of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) on the suspect's whereabouts.

Honggo, former president-director of refiner PT Trans Pacific Petrochemical Indotama, has been sought for questioning by the Indonesian authorities since 2015 over a corruption case on the illicit procurement of diesel fuel in 2010.

The case, which involved the company, upstream regulator SKK Migas and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, had led to losses amounting to 35 trillion rupiah (S$3.5 billion) to the country.

The first hearing on the case began on Feb 10.

According to reports, Commissioner General Listyo Sigit Prabowo of Bareskrim told a parliamentary commission on Feb 19 that he believed Honggo was in Singapore.

"On this occasion, we would like to report that we have made efforts to bring back H.W. (Honggo Wendratno), as we also suspect that the person concerned is currently hiding in Singapore," he was quoted as saying by Tribunnews.com.

 

He also said he had contacted the Singapore authorities to find out where Honggo was, but did not get a positive response.

"We have made efforts to contact Singapore. However, the reply was it's difficult to return someone with suspect status," he said.

Mr Benny Harman, a member of the parliamentary commission overseeing law, human rights and security, was also quoted as saying that he believed Honggo was in Singapore.

"There's no need to speculate; what's certain is he's there (in Singapore). It's all about the will to capture him and bring him back. The key lies in our sincerity and willingness," Mr Harman said.

Indonesia and Singapore signed an extradition treaty in 2007, but Indonesian lawmakers have yet to ratify it in Parliament.

The MFA spokesman said Singapore will provide the necessary assistance to Indonesia on this case, "if Singapore receives a request with concrete information through the appropriate official channels and it is within the ambit of our laws and international obligations to do so".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2020, with the headline 'MFA refutes reports that graft suspect is hiding in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe