Tradeable Corruption Certificates

Dr. Terry Lacey- Indonesia Media

Tradeable Corruption Certificates (TCC) are likely to be launched on Stock Markets in Asia and the Middle East in the next few days with the Indonesian Stock Market likely to be a star performer given Indonesia’s guilt-edged market performance in the sector.

It is expected the TCC voluntary market will evolve hedging, futures and derivatives so that you will be able to buy TCC futures to offset negative consequences of future bribes. This could be helpful to national parliaments, regional assemblies and civil servants.

These innovative certificates will also facilitate recovery of bribes made by foreign firms and redeploy the funds to tourists from the same country, but only when visiting the country where the bribes were received.

This is intended to create awareness of corruption in bribe-giving and bribe-receiving countries by motivating tourists to apply for the planned 50 percent TCC Discounts (TCCDs) to which they would be entitled in bars, restaurants and hotels in the bribe-receiving country.

The scheme is reportedly to be rolled out in bars in Bali as a pilot project. The initial response from British tourist Sidney Barking of Essex one evening in Bali last week indicated enthusiasm. “Marvelous idea, if they bring it in I might vote Labour. The Tories have nothing like it.”

British adoption of TCCs by Prime Minister Gordon Brown is the sort of thing that might indeed swing the election result, appealing to the socially responsible non-Tory majority in the UK with prospects for really cheap holidays in Bali for large numbers of politically principled tourists who would welcome their drinks and meals at half price.

If the scheme is adopted a British flag next to the TCCD sign will indicate that British tourists, on production of their passports, will be eligible for the TCC Discount of 50 percent, with funding recuperated from those who were bribed in Indonesia by British firms.

Sapta Nirwandar the Director General for Marketing in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said, referring to a current promotion of “Remarkable Indonesia” running for one month from 1st April in Harrods, “we hope the promotion can boost more tourists from the UK to visit Indonesia.” He underlined that, “The UK is one of the most influential areas. It is also the centre of media and culture” (The Jakarta Post, 27.03.10).

Lord Justice Thomas spoke plainly and named names recently in Southwark Crown Court that the total paid out in bribes by a British Company Innospec Limited to Indonesian officials in just one case was around US$8 million. “It is not possible to calculate precisely the total amount of bribes, but the best estimate is approximately 5 percent of $160 million, namely US$8 million.” (The Jakarta Post, 30.03.10).

The British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Lord Justice Thomas named PT Soegih Interjaya (PTSI) as the intermediary company receiving a reported $11.7 million in commissions from which bribes were paid.

According to the SFO opening statement in the UK Court and the summing up during sentencing by Justice Thomas (the British firm maintained a stiff upper lip and pleaded guilty) bribes were paid to former director general for oil and gas Rahmat Sudibyo in the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and former processing director at the state owned Pertamina oil and gas company Suroso Atmomartoyo. Justice Thomas said that the amount paid to Rachmat exceeded $1 million. (The Jakarta Post, 30.03.10).

Both Rahmat and Suroso denied the allegations according to The Jakarta Post (27.03.10) and Suroso said “I had nothing to do with this”.

The new TCC Fund could be started, for example, by contributions from the companies and individuals specified in the Southwark Court Case. These bribes were paid in connection with the purchase of lead additives to petrol and may have delayed the introduction of lead-free petrol in Indonesia. (The Jakarta Post, 27.03.10).

This health hazards arising from lead additives must weigh heavily upon this case and may prompt the individuals concerned to take a weight off their minds by voluntarily paying into the TCC Fund. Of course the bribing company should not get their money back. In this case the benefits should go to the people of Britain and Indonesia, most of whom oppose bribery. The same principle should apply to all nations bribed by the British. And where Britain leads today, others will hopefully follow tomorrow.

Terry Lacey is a development economist who writes from Jakarta on modernization in the Muslim world, investment and trade relations with the EU and Islamic banking.

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