SOUTH EAST ASIA’S FINANCIAL HUB BECOMES A FAVORITE SAFE HAVEN FOR INDONESIAN “CORRUPTORSAURUSES”?
by Syarif Hidayat
It is really nice to be a corruptor in Indonesia, has robbed money from the State to the tunes of billions up to trillions of rupiah, he or she would only get a light sentence if caught and in jail too they could enjoy the luxurious cells. Besides that, there’s more other bonuses are often given by the government (Supreme Court), especially to the criminals who have money billions of rupiah, the reduction of their jail term sentences.
Corruptors in Indonesia could also be completely free from the shackles of the law by fleeing to abroad especially Singapore or pretend they get the sudden illness such as stomach pain, heartburn, mild to severe heart disease and some have memory loss illness when they become suspect or are arrested.
The corrupt or Thief-bankers who stole or manipulated Bank Indonesia ‘s bail out (BLBI) funds for the selected big banks affected by the monetary crisis. Approximately 18 of the Thief-bankers who manipulated the funds with the state losses of Rp 600 trillion could live safely and comfortably, and even some of them became respected investors in their hiding place abroad, mainly in Singapore.
So the phrase ‘Singapore a safe haven for corrupt Indonesian state officials’ is true. Many wealthy criminals who escaped and took refuge in the country, survive there until now.
Some of the suspected corruptors say that they go to Singapore to get the best hospital treatment the island country could provide for their (pretended) illnesses. But unfortunately they never returned home again because they could not find the best treatment for their illnesses. I guess they would never get the best treatment for their illnesses there because their real illnesses are mental illnesses. They are severely infected by “corrupt behaviors” and “corruption culture” diseases that have destroyed their moralities and religious beliefs.
One of the peculiar illness cases suffered by Indonesian’s suspected corruptors is the case of Nunun Nurbaeti ‘s illness. She suffered memory loss. She might have lost her memory about the Miranda Gultom bribery case. But amazingly she still has a sharp memory of the information about which countries that have no extradition treaty with Indonesia. Look at her adventure to avoid arrest. In March, Nunun was thought to have fled to Singapore before moving on to Thailand and then Cambodia, where she is currently believed to be hiding.
An ‘open date’ air ticket for easy escape
The corruptors may have ordered and are always ready with an open date airline ticket. The evidence when the case has been known to the public shortly before they were arrested, they could easily and smoothly escape to Singapore.
Former Vice President Jusuf Kalla also spoke about a number of people who have problem with the law and other legal issues in Indonesia such as involved in a corruption scandal are always chose Singapore as their place to avoid arrests and law enforcement officers.
Jusuf Kalla (JK) said the political party or parties responsible should be careful in giving permission to their members to go overseas, especially Singapore. It is said in response to the problem Nazaruddin JK who went to Singapore in the middle of his alleged involvement with cases of alleged bribery case Seskemenpora.
Kalla acknowledged, if Singapore is one of the safest refuge for citizens of Indonesia who have problem with the law to hide. Moreover, he continued, the state of Singapore has no extradition treaty.
“Singapore is the safest, there is no extradition treaty with Indonesia and close and easy communication,” said Kalla. Therefore, it is no wonder if some people who ran into legal problems hide in the lion country .
“Yes everyone who escape over there, who are afraid. if they are afraid with the Indonesian law means they have problem,” he said. Kalla later said that when he was serving as Vice President 2004-2009, in fact there has been an extradition agreement ever discussed with the government of the island nation. However, finalization of the agreement failed because Singaporean government wants to link it to the other agreements.
Jusuf Kalla said that in 2005 the prime minister of Singapore and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed an extradition agreement and defense cooperation agreement between Indonesia and Singapore in Bali. However, the House then refused to ratify the extradition agreement because the defense clause of the agreement will oblige Indonesia to provide a place for Singapore to establish a military training base in Indonesia.
Resentment of Singapore’s perceived role as a safe haven for law-breaking Indonesians is mounting as the authorities here struggle to bring two graft suspects back for trial.
As a result, the absence of an extradition treaty between the two neighbours has resurfaced as a sore point. But analysts say Singapore is merely a ‘convenient scapegoat’ because it is Jakarta that has not ratified the pact.
The commotion comes in the wake of two recent cases: Nunun Nurbaeti, linked to a vote-buying scandal, is believed to have stopped in Singapore before moving on, and Muhammad Nazaruddin, under investigation for bribery, is in the Republic.
Both said they left to seek medical treatment. The Indonesian authorities have made a number of fruitless trips to Singapore to locate Nunun and to convince Nazaruddin to return to Jakarta.
Why do people elect corrupt politicians when they know they are corrupt? Because they have power and money. They buy votes. Or Maybe the electorate believes that all politicians are corrupt, so they try to vote for the least corrupt choice. OR another theory is that people vote for politicians who they think will be corrupt in their favor.
A Classical saying says: “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power, corrupts absolutely.” A German proverb says: “Der Fisch stinkt vom Kopf her.”- Lit.Translation: “The fish stinks from the head.” – Meaning: “Corruption starts at the top.” Corruption is more dangerous than terrorism because our security forces (the Police and the Military) are competent to fight against terrorism. But it is very difficult to fight against the corruption because it is committed by those who are in power. e.g. bureaucrats and politicians. That is why national movement against corruption is necessary.
Due to their very big and strong financial assets the corruptors who fled to Singapore have many foreign bank accounts including in Singaporean banks. So it is suitable to call them “Corruptorsauruses.” Almost certainly a lot of foreign aid (including from Japanese, USA/EC and British government) money will have ended up in Singapore bank accounts belonging to corrupt Indonesian officials.
Singapore promotes itself as a model of financial integrity. Singapore is the world’s fourth leading financial centre, and its economy is often ranked among the world’s top ten most open, competitive and innovative. But, officials in Jakarta say, the wealthy city-state is a haven for some of the most corrupt Indonesians and their ill-gotten gains. Singapore denies that it turns a blind eye to dirty money and says that if sufficient evidence is provided, it is ready to take “swift and necessary action” against corruption suspects, AFP reported.
“Singapore is the most strategic country for corruptors to run away to. It’s geographically the closest to Indonesia and the policy of the Singaporean government enables corruptors to live there,” the Indonesian Government high official told AFP. Precise information on the extent of the illegal wealth allegedly smuggled out of Indonesia to Singapore is hard to find due to the small republic’s strict bank secrecy laws and the sensitivity of the subject. But a report by Indonesia’s financial intelligence unit in late 2006 said around 200 fugitives from Indonesian state debt were residing there.
Three years ago extradition requests were lodged with Singapore for 15 corruption suspects, but the process has stalled due to complications surrounding a 2007 extradition treaty, Indonesian officials said. Most of 18 suspects currently subject to extradition requests over corruption were hiding in the city-state. Another 10 had fled abroad, mostly to Singapore, but were not subject to extradition requests. The suspects include bankers who siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars in state bailout funds during the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis, and tycoons of illegal logging, according to official and independent sources.
“They are living the life there. Their lifestyle in Singapore is above the average,” Indonesia Corruption Watch activist Emerson Yuntho said. Arif Havas Oegroseno, director general for law and international treaties at the foreign ministry, said the proceeds from corruption were more than enough to fund lavish lifestyles in Singapore.
“As they’ve invested huge sums of stolen money, which are increasing in value over time, they no longer need to work,” he said.
The Indonesian Supreme Court convicted businessman Djoko Sugiarto Tjandra on June 11 last year for embezzling 546 billion rupiah (60 million dollars) of state funds linked to bank bailouts in 1999. Like other suspects before him, he fled to Singapore on the eve of his conviction and is now the target of Indonesia’s latest request for extradition.
A spokeswoman for Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers did not comment on Tjandra’s case. “Requests for mutual legal assistance are confidential,” she said.
On March 25, Indonesian officials reported that Gayus Tambunan, a 30-year-old tax official wanted in connection with a suspicious 25 billion rupiah in his bank account, had fled the country for Singapore. He was apprehended there a few days later by Indonesian police, prompting questions from officials and journalists in Jakarta about why this suspect was so easy to repatriate when others continued to live freely in Singapore.
Another fugitive is Anggoro Widjojo, a businessman who police allege bribed officials to win a forestry ministry contract. He initially fled to China but police and graft investigators said that when they wanted to talk to him last year, he was in Singapore. Indonesia’s anti-corruption watchdog — the Corruption Eradication Commission — accuses him of launching a long-distance campaign through his Jakarta-based brother, Anggodo, to frame investigators probing his case.
Indonesian economist and politician Dradjad Wibowo estimated that up to 120 billion dollars worth of “grey money” from Indonesia had flowed through Singapore, despite that state’s clear laws against money laundering. “More than half of that money is funds from corruption, finance-related crime or other crimes such as illegal logging,” he said. “We hope Singapore will show goodwill but it can’t claim to be one of the world’s cleanest and best governed countries while still existing as a bolthole for Indonesian corruptors.”
The situation has stoked frustration among senior Indonesian officials for years, but they appear to be reluctant to speak out about it for fear of riling Singapore’s leadership.When the frustration does boil over, they accuse Singapore of undermining an Asian neighbour’s fight against corruption — deemed vital to Indonesia’s economic and democratic development — in order to enrich its banking sector.
Then-vice-president Jusuf Kalla was blunt in a 2007 interview with the Financial Times. “They’re thinking on the business side… That’s all it is. It strengthens Singapore’s economy,” he said. But Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said that Indonesia believed Singapore recognised “the importance of dealing with these cases” and helping its neighbour to “enforce its core positions” against corruption.
Squeaky clean or safe haven for Indonesian wealthy crooks?
Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island country off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres north of the equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia’s Riau Islands. Singapore is the world’s fourth leading financial centre, and its economy is often ranked among the world’s top ten most open, competitive and innovative. The country is also a highly cosmopolitan world city, with a key role in international trade and finance. Singapore has a diverse populace of 5 million people made up of Chinese, Malays, Indians, Asians and Caucasians of various ethnic origins.
Singaporean officials bristle at the suggestion the regional financial hub’s integrity is being muddied by illegal loggers, dodgy tax officials and shady businessmen from across the Malacca Strait. “Singapore takes a serious view of crimes committed in Singapore and will not tolerate any criminal or illicit activities being conducted through Singapore,” the spokeswoman for the state’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said, according to press reports.
“In regard to foreign corruption fugitives, as long as sufficient evidence is provided to show that money laundering or any other offence has been committed in Singapore, the law enforcement authorities will take swift and necessary action to investigate and/or seize assets.” Indeed, Transparency International ranks Singapore as one of the cleanest countries in the world — and Indonesia as one of the grubbiest. Singapore was the world’s third cleanest country on Transparency’s corruption perceptions index for 2009, the only Asian nation in the top 10. Indonesia was a lowly 111th.
Under Singapore’s Corruption, Drug Trafficking and other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, any person who knows or suspects that property may have come from criminal conduct is obliged to report this information. But a 2008 report by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body tasked with developing international policies to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, rated Singapore as only “partially compliant” with its recommendations.
It said “no enforceable powers have been exercised to require financial institutions to apply stringent or additional … counter-measures” in relation to money from countries that do not abide by FATF standards. Singapore’s money-laundering laws were “not effectively implemented” and there was a focus on domestic cases, leaving foreigners largely unmolested, it said.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore said the report “affirmed the high standards” of Singapore’s anti-money laundering regime and rated the state on a par with Britain and the United States. “In particular, the integrity of Singapore’s financial system is safeguarded by our rigorous customer due diligence measures as well as clear and efficient process for mutual legal assistance,” a spokeswoman said.
“These procedures are applied to both local as well as foreign customers.” But in a study released in December on illegal logging in Indonesia, Human Rights Watch described Singapore as a “safe haven” for cashed-up Indonesian corruption fugitives. It said that while Jakarta bore the main responsibility for requesting assistance and pursuing cases, Singapore had to “ensure that its own banking and anti-money laundering regulations are rigorously enforced”. Human Rights Watch added that Singapore had an international duty to ensure it did not allow its banking system — the cornerstone of Southeast Asian finance — to be used to wash dirty money.
“Although proud of its strong ratings on fighting corruption domestically, Singapore in particular is often used as a safe haven by business tycoons fleeing law enforcement in Indonesia,” said the report, entitled “Wild Money”.”Corrupt fugitives from justice continue to reside peacefully and house their assets unmolested in Singapore.”
Indonesia’s parliament has not ratified the extradition treaty because of Singapore’s insistence on linking it to defence ties, officials in Jakarta said.Foreign Minister Natalegawa said the pact was in “abeyance” due to “complications in the way it was presented and the way the discussions developed”.”That notwithstanding, there is still room for cooperation between our two governments,” he added.
Singapore is the fourth wealthiest country in the world in GDP (PPP) per capita terms, and twentieth wealthiest in terms of GDP (nominal) per capita. Despite Singapore’s relatively small physical size, the country has the world’s ninth largest foreign reserves.
‘There is a view in Indonesia that Singapore is gaining from Indonesia’s rich,” said one political observer, who asked not to be identified, “and that Singapore sees the implementation of a stand-alone extradition treaty as a threat to its attractiveness in luring the rich with their investments, without having to worry over their tax declarations.”
The other countries which are reportedly used as safe havens by the Indonesian Corruptorsauruses are Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, China and Australia.
Why are you piling up money?
Children of Adam, we live in this world temporarily! You only live once and very short (there would be a permanent life in the Hereafter), but if you work it right, once is enough. Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with the truth. And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. Treasure every moment of your life! Deeds, not creeds, are the true measure of a man. Deeds are fruits, words are leaves. Be courageous in good deeds. A good deed is one that brings a smile of joy to the face of another.
A German proverb says: “Das letzte Hemd hat keine Taschen.”- Translation: The last shirt has no pockets. – Meaning: Piling up money won’t serve you anything once you’re dead.– Equivalent1: “You can’t take it with you.” – Equivalent 2: “Money isn’t everything.” Use your money for charity would be more worthwhile for humanity. Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much. No man is so poor as to have nothing worth giving. Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting. Seek joy in what you give; not in what you get.
What can your money buy?
While you are alive, the situation is that not everything money can buy:With money, you can buy a clock but not TIME; a book but not KNOWLEDGE; a doctor but not a good HEALTH; a position but not RESPECT; sex but not LOVE; blood but not LIFE and luxuries but not HAPPINESS!
Money can buy you a bed…
but it can’t buy sleep.
Money can buy amusements…
but it can’t buy happiness.
Money can buy companions…
but it can’t buy friends.
Money can buy a book…
but it can’t buy brains.
Money can buy a house…
but it can’t buy a home.
Money can buy medicine…
but it can’t buy health.
Money can buy luxuries…
but it can’t buy culture.
Money can buy flattery…
but it can’t buy respect.
The court of Allah SWT the Most Fair
The Corruptorsauruses could get away from the court in this world with only a light sentence or they are free at all. In the Hereafter there would be a court of Allah the Most Just. Not only the corrupt people, but all human beings will be asked for their responsibilities above all their deeds during life on earth!
Hereafter, the day after the death of truth that must be believed by everyone who believes in Allah SWT and His religion of truth. The Day was the Day of Judgement for all the deeds of man, a perfect day of reckoning, the day that would be revealed all deeds that are hidden when in the world, that day at that time those who exceed the limit will say with great regret.
In the Name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful. “Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds.” – (Al Qur’an, Surah Al Mudathsir, verse 38)
“Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing (in your hearts): for the Mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good.” – (Al Qur’an, Surah al-A’raf, Verse 56)
“O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent forth for the morrow. Yea, fear Allah: for Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do.” – (Al Qur’an, Surah Al Hasyr: Verse 18)
“Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds, And had preferred the life of this world, the Abode will be Hell-Fire; And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower Desires, Their Abode will be the Garden.” – ( Al Qur’an, Surah An Naazi’aat: 37-41).
“That House of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth: and the End is (best) for the righteous.” – (Al Qur’an, Surah Al Qashash: Verse 83).
“Allah will establish in strength those who believe, with the Word that stands firm, in this world and in the Hereafter; but Allah will leave, to stray, those who do wrong: Allah doeth what He willeth.” – (Al Qur’an, Surah Ibrahim: Verse 27). (HSH)