Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said Thursday that the anti-money laundering law can help the government recover its assets, bring more corrupt officials to justice, and create a more weighty deterrent.
“There are 10 additional values of using the 2010 Prevention and Eradication of Money Laundering Law, for example, the law requires a corruption suspect to prove that their money came from legitimate sources, or a method known as reverse burden of proof,” ICW researcher Donal Fariz said in a discussion at the office of the Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK).
The law stipulates that an investigator can combine a money laundering offense with predicate offenses, including corruption. This cumulative indictment, Donal said, could have a deterrent effect on perpetrators.
Chapter II of the law also allows judges to hand down a maximum Rp 10 billion (US$ 1.17 million) penalty to an individual and Rp 100 billion to a corporation. The law also stipulates additional punishment for companies, such as the business license revocation, company asset seizure, company liquidation and company takeover by the state.
Donal said the law allowed the criminalization of all parties or individuals who were involved in using money or items allegedly from corrupt practice.
“This formula is very effective to ensnare political party members who often accept money or a ‘ghost’ fund from both a group of businessmen or an individual,” he said.
The concept of “follow the money” cited in the law could connect the crime to the intellectual actors behind it, Donal added.
PPATK head Yunus Husein, said that reverse burden of proof was much needed in most corruption trials.
“Reverse burden of proof is very effective because most corrupt officials refuse to admit that their money came from corrupt practice. It worked in the Bahasyim case where he couldn’t approve that all his money came from his business,” he said, referring to former tax director Bahasyim Assifie.
Last month, the Jakarta High Court gave him two more years to 12 years in jail in an appeal trial filed by Bahasyim.
The panel of judges argued that he failed to prove his Rp 66 billion ($7.3 million) came from legitimate sources. They also ordered the confiscation of the money.
Yunus said the law still upheld the principle of presumption of innocence, because beside reverse burden of proof, the prosecutors still had to prove other elements.
The prosecutors could not use the reverse burden of proof principle as a sole foundation of their indictment, Yunus added.
“But when someone fails to explain his assets and prosecutors can prove other elements, not only can their assets be seized, that person can be punished too,” he said. (swd)