Attorney General Moves to Extradite Execs in Singapore

JAKARTA ~ The new attorney general took his first swing at corruption on Tuesday as he moved to extradite 15 executives allegedly hiding millions of dollars in stolen state funds in Singapore.

Attorney General Hendarman Supandji, part of a new-look anti-graft cabinet announced on Monday, said the business executives would be extradited under a treaty signed with its neighbor last month.

“There are 15 people. They are ready to be extradited,” Supandji said.

He declined to reveal names but the suspects are thought to include bankers who siphoned off state funds meant as cash injections to help ailing Indonesian institutions in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Indonesia has long sought the extradition treaty to chase down alleged corrupt officials and businesspeople from the time of former president Suharto, who stepped down in 1998.

Supandji was promoted to the top legal job in a cabinet reshuffle by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday aimed partly at bolstering the government’s crackdown on corruption.

Another two ministers linked to graft were dumped from the cabinet in the reshuffle as Indonesia attempts to overcome an international reputation for chronic corruption.

Jakarta had accused Singapore of long delaying last month’s treaty on fears Indonesian suspects would withdraw their money and shake up the wealthy island-nation’s financial system and property sector.

Singapore has denied it was a magnet for laundered funds, saying adequate safeguards were in place to prevent such abuses.

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