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UNODC talk series addresses the problem of asset recovery in Indonesia

Jakarta (Indonesia), 13 May 2011 - On 27 April 2011, UNODC held a Talk Series entitled "Asset recovery and problem faced by Indonesia". This time, UNODC anti-corruption talk had two eminent speakers: Commissioner General, Mr. Ito Sumardi, Head of Criminal Investigation Department of the Indonesian National Police and Professor O.C. Kaligis, a senior lawyer.

"Corruption is an extraordinary crime hence it requires extraordinary ways of handling and involving all stakeholders at the level of prevention, prosecution and asset recovery", said Commissioner General Sumardi, at the beginning of his presentation. He further explained that the Indonesian National Police is working in coordination with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights as the central authority in administrating mutual legal assistance to countries suspected of harbouring assets acquired through corrupt means.

As a recommendation, he said "trace and seizure as well as recovery of assets related to criminal acts of corruption must be carried out systemically and integrated with other institutions so that recovery in both domestic and overseas locations can be achieved according to requirements proposed by the requested state."

In his presentation, Professor Kaligis pointed out that asset recovery is problematic because the national law does not specifically regulate the definition of asset recovery or the technicallities regarding this matter. "The lack of mutual understanding and cooperation between ASEAN countries on asset recovery related to corruption also creates an ineffective legal environment for the eradication of corruption at regional level", added Prof. Kaligis.

During the lively question and answer session, concerns about the Government's political will on combating corruption were raised. "Political will should be a normative value but in reality, corruption does happen because there is mutualism", answered Commissionaire General Sumardi.

Professor Kaligis addressed the question by saying that economic gain and political will is hampering asset recovery across boundaries. "In reality, it is still difficult to realise transboundary asset recovery, even though countries that are known to be the "save havens" for placing illegal assets by Indonesian corruptors have signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Present at this event were representatives from local and foreign government institutions, civil society, the donor community, academia and the media.