S'pore remains committed to helping Indonesia fight graft: MFA

Singapore has been and will remain committed to helping Indonesia crack down on corruption, the Republic's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reaffirmed yesterday.

"Singapore has provided assistance to Indonesia on several past and ongoing investigations," it said.

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

The statement was in response to reports in the Indonesian media which quoted police inspector-general Karyoto, a senior officer in charge of enforcement and execution at Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

The reports said it was difficult to pursue Indonesian corruption suspects in Singapore.

The anti-corruption official also noted that both countries did not have an extradition treaty.

"There is no basis to the allegations," the MFA said, referring to the media reports.

It pointed out that Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) had provided assistance to Indonesia on several past and ongoing investigations, including by assisting the KPK in serving summons requests to people under investigation and providing confirmation on the whereabouts of specific Indonesian nationals under investigation.

Singapore facilitated a visit by the KPK to the Republic in May 2018 to interview a person of interest in the commission's investigations and KPK commissioner Nawawi Pomolango noted its coordination with the CPIB in a press conference in Jakarta on Dec 30 last year.

On the question of extradition, the MFA pointed out that Singapore and Indonesia had signed the Extradition Treaty and Defence Cooperation Agreement as a package in April 2007, but both were still pending ratification by the Indonesian Parliament.

"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," said the MFA.

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.

"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," said the MFA statement.

It added: "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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2021, with the headline 'S'pore remains committed to helping Indonesia fight graft: MFA'. Subscribe