The Director of Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau refuted an allegation that his country is a refuge for perpetrators of graft, or for their ill gotten gains.
“Singapore is not a safe haven for fugitives, or for dirty money,” said Eric Tan Chong Sian on the sidelines of the 8th international workshop of the Southeast Asia Parties Against Corruption (Seapac) in Yogayakarta on Tuesday. “We have laws against this.”
Some of Indonesia’s most famous graft convicts, such as Gayus Halomoan Tambunan and Muhammad Nazaruddin, have allegedly deposited money in Singapore banks. Because the two countries don’t have a working extradition agreement, it is difficult for Indonesia to establish a paper trail.
The Director of CPIB noted that in 2007, Singapore and Indonesia began to establish an extradition agreement, but that it was ultimately turned down by House Commission I.
“Extradition [will be] possible when the Indonesian parliament ratifies this agreement,” Eric said, adding that he would make every effort to help return government assets to Indonesia.
“In Singapore, we confiscate or forfeit the proceeds of corruption,” he said. “So we work very closely with the KPK and other law enforcement agencies to go after corrupt [assets].”
Eric said that the Indonesian government should go through the appropriate legal procedures to seize the proceeds from corruption, such as a court ruling.
“We are happy to return [assets], but it has to be done legally,” he said, noting that Singapore once returned assets from Pertamina worth $ 81 million in 1994.
Regarding Nunun Nurbaeti, who sought refuge in Singapore for an extended period, Eric said the government limited her stay as much as it could.
“We knew Ibu Nunun was in Singapore on a social visit [visa], so she was there legally. What did we do? We made sure that she couldn’t extend her stay,” Eric said.