What is it with the beef import quota?

I think the beef import quota corruption case is going to the wrong directions. Instead of focusing about the case and the economic impact of the underlying import quota policy, most of the media’s focus is increasingly becoming on the women or the sex scandal surrounding it. I’m kinda pissed with the whole spin and I feel that I (at least) have the obligation to unpack the real issues that we should be debating instead of ‘proper’ nicknames for Javanese or Arabic girls.

Moving on. I think we firstly need to look at the structure of our beef market. Second, the implications of the import quota policy and of course, the ongoing corruption case on the beef import quota.

What needs to be in our urgent attention is that the current average price of beef in Java is about Rp. 85.0000-95.000/kg (USD 8-9/kg), and this is a significant jump from last year’s average price which is about Rp. 76.000/kg or Rp.60.000/kg in 2010. You look at the numbers (Ministry of Trade website), and you would see that there is roughly an increase of 20% in beef prices in just two years. Not normal.

Production-wise, if we look at the cattle sensus data, the number of beef cattle have shown an increasing trend. If we have an abundant of cattle why is the price so high? I need to quickly point out, provided that our data is valid, the production data shows the number of available cattle, not the number of meat available for consumption. The data that is largely missing is the number of meat stock we have in our abattoirs or traders (the middle supply chain).

Simple beef supply chain

We import beef in two forms: live beef cattle – so you can put them in feedlotters and make them plump (productivity counts), and frozen meat. Percentage-wise, we import about 60% of our import quota for live cattle, while 40% of our imports are frozen meat. We also limit the places where the imported beef can enter in our territory (only in certain ports), so it doesn’t disrupt the local market. You do want the poor cattle farmers to increase their welfare, no? No? You want cheap beef instead?

Now we go a bit to the rationale for the import quota. Basic microeconomics (for which I have mostly doodled during class – sorry Prof) tells us that if we have the price according to the world market (Pw), you have suppliers willing to sell at a cheaper price (and perhaps better quality too), while the local suppliers can’t compete and can only supply a small amount at that price. So let’s say the government imposes a quota and there is going to be a limit on how many beef products are available on the local market. Thus, this gives the opportunity for local cattle farmers to compete but alas, consumers might have to bear the more expensive price (Pq) as quotas affects the price indirectly. Voila, increase of producer surplus and decrease of consumer surplus, yadayadayada. The difference between quota and tariffs, the government can get the revenue from the tariff, but if it’s a quota – then whoever becomes the importers can get all the profit.

Import Quota

So who decides which importers can import the beef?

Now this is where the beef gets juicy (horrible pun, sorry).

In  January 2013, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) caught red-handed the handing over of money from Juard Effendi and Arya Arby Effendi, two executives from PT Indoguna Utama (a well-known beef importer), to Ahmad Fathanah (AF) – known to be the close acquaintance of Luthfi Hasan Ishak (LHI), the president of the Prosperous Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera) at the time. Now the case is on trial and what is at stake is the government’s credibility in setting the import quota policy, as well as PKS’ credibility as a major Islamic party that sells itself as a clean and corruption-free party – with die hard grass root sympathizers (more on this political Islam aspect on another blog post).

But it’s not that easy for KPK as well. In order to prove that the importers paid a sum of money to AF and LHI to get the beef import quota, they need to prove that LHI in fact has an influence over the Ministry of Agriculture (with Minister Suswono, a PKS cadre, at its helm) – to give a recommendation for Indoguna as an importer – which is later decided in a coordination meeting between related ministries (i.e. Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Industry). In this meeting, apart from deciding which firms have the license to import based on the listed criteria, the government also decides the quotas – which have been decreasing for the past two years (compared to 2010).

Quota Influence Cycle

Seeing that this is quite a challenge, that’s why KPK (along with the help of PPATK) also use the Money Laundering Law on the suspects because the burden of proof shifts to them – they need to prove that the flow of money and all the financial transactions that goes through them is legit. And this is where the “many women of AF” story gets messy and convoluted the beef import story because there’s so many unanswered flow of money that goes to these women through AF.

Since the beef import quota case is still on trial, it is too early to know whether any of the suspects are going to jail or if any other actors are going to be implicated. But what we do know now is that the whole import quota policy is based on an unreliable production data, driven by a self-sufficiency policy that is not adding any value to cattle farmers, nor giving the consumers affordable meat.

With rising income in Indonesia, you’ve got an increasing demand but you’re limiting the supply and you expect things to be cheap? Do the math.

Risks and Rewards

Corruption charges! Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. That’s Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win. – Danny Dalton, Syriana (2005).

Why do people cheat?

Is it motivated by the lack of satisfaction with what they already have, thus the false need of wanting more? Or is it because, in general, they perceive that the rewards that they would get is higher than the risks that is involved?

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Over the past few weeks, the Indonesian media has been highlighting the Nazaruddin corruption case, who is currently on trial for rigging the construction tender of the athlete’s village for the SEA Games last year. Nazaruddin, who was the Democratic Party’s treasurer at the time, stated that he did not act alone and subsequently accuse the involvement of Anas Urbaningrum (the Party’s chairman) and Angelina Sondakh (the Party’s deputy secretary general and former Miss Indonesia).

President Yudhoyono is the chief of patron of the Democratic Party, the ruling party in Indonesia, which managed to get 21 percent share in the 2009 election. A recent poll by the Indonesian Survey Institute showed that if elections were to be held now, the Party’s share would drop to 13.7 percent, second to Golkar. President Yudhoyono was re-elected in 2009 over his promise in tackling Indonesia’s corruption problems, but the graft cases in his own party have been overshadowing his performance.

President Yudhoyono have made it clear that he will not suspend Anas, but he will not protect him either if the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) declares him as a suspect. Angelina, on the other hand, was removed from the deputy secretary general position on Friday (24/02) after she was named a suspect by KPK, although she is technically still an MP.

In Singapore, a high profile corruption case that has been on the news recently was about Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) commissioner Peter Lim and Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) director Ng Boon Gay. Both of the officers are married and they are being investigated by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on an IT-related procurement contract case allegedly involving not just money, but sex with a married IT executive.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated that they moved swiftly to replace the two senior civil servants in late January, not long after the investigations began at the end of December and early January. A Singaporean blogger questioned however, why was there a delay in making the investigations public.

The investigation is still ongoing, but a Singaporean friend commented, “if the two officers are proven guilty, they are surely done in Singapore. They can only get a private job most probably outside of Singapore.”

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The two cases above illustrates that they are willing to risk themselves in engaging in an act that is seen to give them better rewards despite the rewards that they already have in their high-ranking position. Why?

Perhaps because they operate in a system that does not penalize them for engaging in such acts. If the rewards from corruption is high, and the risks of getting caught is low (or you can get caught but can get away with it easily), why wouldn’t they?

They say that the root problem of corruption is the low pay that public officials receive, hence the need for rent-seeking behaviors. Giving higher salary, however, does not solve the problem either, as in the case in Singapore (they are among the most well-paid civil servants in the world) and in the recent case of another Gayus in the tax department (reportedly he makes Rp. 8 million per month despite his low rank – which is much better compared to other civil servants in Indonesia).

Is it then the question of greed, not need?

What I would like to highlight here is that we need to create an environment where engaging in corruption is something to be seen as “high risk-low reward“. In order to do so, we would need not only political will from the leaders to fight corruption, but also society’s low acceptance towards corruption.

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On paper, Indonesia’s political will to fight corruption is on the right track. The strategy is right to focus on preventing corruption especially in the law enforcement agencies (another blog post of mine might illustrate why), reflected in the Presidential Instruction 9/2011 (see chart below, taken from UKP4). Quah (2007) argues that you can also see political will in fighting corruption in how much budget and qualified personnel is allocated towards the Anti-Corruption Agencies in the country.

Strategy for Preventing and Eradicating Corruption (Inpres 9/2011)If only there are publicly available information on how we are doing so far with corruption prevention and eradication efforts, then I can probably give a fair assessment. I lament on the media’s reporting on how much corruption is going on, I wonder how many government efforts are actually successful but not reported.

On the other hand, what signals political will to fight corruption to the public, is how swift the political leaders are in acting or responding on corruption cases in their organizations (i.e. suspension of their officers). That is why President Yudhoyono’s hesitation with what is going on in his party is creating questions in the eyes of the public regarding his own political will to fight corruption. To be fair, other political party leaders need to be scrutinized for their slow responses in their party members’ behaviors as well.

On society’s acceptance or attitude towards corruption, this is a bit tricky. I question whether corruption is a part of our culture, because culture is supposed to be seen as something that collectively agree upon. So, is corruption really “okay”? I believe this is a valid question as well in China and their guanxi practices.

A recent effort to challenge society’s definition of corruption is seen in the movie Kita vs. Korupsi (Us against Corruption). Without a collective effort to condemn corruption, even government efforts are futile if we are complacent with the problem.

At least what I see from the Singapore case is that the people are very intolerant towards corruption, as evidenced by the anecdotal remark by my friend above. In Indonesia, unfortunately it is not uncommon for former corruption convicts to run for public office and in few instances they actually get promoted, not demoted from their position. This sort of toleration is what creates that “low risk” situation that I mentioned earlier.

There are details in creating that “high risk-low reward” environment for corruption that I can’t elaborate one by one (and I believe there are more experts on this issue). I sincerely hope, however, that Indonesia can expedite the process in preventing people’s tendency to cheat or engage in corruption.

Nununesia

In Indonesia, there’s this disease called Nununesia. It’s a selected memory loss which occurs conveniently when you’re called by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) due to your alleged involvement in a high-profile bribery base involving several legislators.

I first wrote about Ms. Nunun Nurbaeti in my blog here, ending with a bet for how long can she be on the run with the Interpol wanted list on her back. Turns out, I was way out of my initial bet of 10 days which turned out to be 6 months.

Tempo reported that she was on the loose for so long because she had some help from an international security firm based in Bangkok (the last place where she was captured). The whole protection (or rather, escape) scheme ran like an intelligence operation, led by a former US Marine, Mr. Philip B. Christensen. When asked about further information on Philip, Mr. Troy Pederson, the Press Attache of the US Embassy in Jakarta replied, “Sorry, our laws forbid it”.

Now that she’s back for questioning by the KPK, the whole story about her recurring memory loss is amusing:

Doctors at the National Police hospital, where Nunun was treated, recently confirmed claims voiced by her family that she was suffering from dementia, a condition where a person experiences a declining ability to memorize and think.

Funny, her disease didn’t seem to stop her socialite lifestyle and the ability to mix and match with the latest bags from Hermes and Birkin, and oh, those LV scarves. I’m guessing she didn’t seem to forget where to shop for those goods during her escapades in Singapore, Laos and Bangkok.

Nunun on her way to Jakarta after her capture in Bangkok, Thailand. Photography: TEMPO

Kutai Kartanegara Bridge Fell Down, My Fair Lady

The Mahakam II bridge, also known as the Kutai Kartanegara bridge, connecting Tenggarong and Tenggarong Seberang districs in Kutai Kartanegara collapsed on Saturday (26/11/2011).

This is the picture of the bridge, before and after.

The bridge was constructed from 1995 to 2001 by State-Owned Corporation PT Hutama Karya. In the course of 10 years (an awfully short time for a bridge’s lifetime), I am sure that somehow, someone would saw the coming of the collapse of Indonesia’s longest suspension bridge (710 meter long, 9 meter wide, with 270 meter in height).

In February 2010, Kaltim Post reported that there is a shift in the bridge, but predicted that a collapse is unlikely. The Kutai Kartanegara Bupati, Rita Widyasari, have instructed the head of the Kutai Kartanegara Public Works agency to follow up with the report. Each year, the Kutai Kartanegara Public Works agency proposes a budget for the maintenance of the bridge.

After the collapse, which caused the death of at least three people and dozens injured, indications of corruption quickly emerged.

The regency is infamous with corruption cases, whereby the former Kutai Kartanegara Bupati Syaukani Hasan Rais, was convicted of four corruption cases involving Rp. 92.3 billion ($10.1 million) and was sentenced to six years in prison in mid-2009. As Jakarta Globe reported, the acting head of the regency, Samsuri Aspar, was also jailed for four years for corruption involving money earmarked for the poor – involving Rp. 24.7 billion and every single member of the local legislature and all of the subdistrict heads.

The incumbent Bupati, Rita Widyasari, is apparently Syaukani’s daughter. She won the local Bupati election garnering 55% of the votes with the support of Golkar in 2010. Coincidentally, earlier that year Syaukani was released from jail because of “amnesia therapy”.

With a long list of possible suspects, it will take the utmost effort to investigate how the bridge collapsed.

Whether it started from construction or maintenance, infrastructure investment in Indonesia is a long and complicated story. Corruption will only make it worse, and indeed, it not only hampers development but it has also taken the lives of innocent people.

A Tale of Two Prisons

What Indonesia can learn from Singapore on how to manage their prisons.

A former inmate of Salemba Penitentiary, Syarifudin S. Pane, released a video from his cellphone taken in 2008 depicting the conditions inside the prison and the stark contrast between the treatment of inmates convicted of corruption and other crimes.

Syarifudin claimed that Block K – notorious for housing convicted corruptors such as Nurdin Halid (former Chairman of Indonesian Soccer Association, for illegal smuggling of imported sugar and corruption of cooking oil distribution) and Said Agil (former Minister of Religious Affair, for corruption of Hajj funds) – have rooms equipped with air-conditioning, refrigerator, water dispenser, and even gym and karaoke facilities inside the block, all with the price of IDR 30 million (US$3,330) per room in addition to IDR 1,250,000 (US$135) per month for electricity, security and cleaning services.

Despite the oddities of why Syarifudin was allowed to bring a cellphone inside the prison in the first place, the story of exclusive treatment of inmates with the expense of bad treatment of others is not new in Indonesia. In early 2010, for example, the head of Pondok Bambu Penitentiary was released from his duties along with the rotation of several prison officers due to the case of Artalyta Suryani’s penitentiary pent house.

How do you prevent discriminatory treatment such as these in Indonesia when you know that the very institution that is supposed to penalize corruption is corrupt? In this post I examine the organization of prisons in Indonesia and roughly explain how it is done in Singapore.

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Before we move on, it is important to know the difference between a penitentiary (rumah tahanan) and correctional facility (lembaga pemasyarakatan) in the Indonesian criminal justice system. A penitentiary is a temporary place where criminal suspects are held, pending of their final and binding decision from the court regarding their punishment. Correctional facilities on the other hand is a place where convicted criminals are held, and it is where they are supposed to get their guidance and re-education before entering into society again.

By function, penitentiaries and correctional facilities are different, but both are Technical Implementation Units (unit pelaksana teknis) carrying out some tasks and functions of the Directorate General for Corrections of the Ministry for Law and Human Rights. Each of them are managed by the head of the penitentiary or head of correctional facility allocated to each regions in Indonesia.

My first puzzle here, is why are convicted corruptors held in penitentiaries and not in correctional facilities?

The immediate response would be that there is currently a problem of overcrowding in Indonesian prisons, thus more often than not, criminal suspects are put into correctional facilities temporarily, or if the correctional facilities are full, convicted criminals are put into penitentiaries. Consequently, one would think that why are penitentiaries and correctional facilities differentiated in the first place because it boils down to the very same thing.

Overcrowding in prisons may signify that not much resources are allocated for the rehabilitation of inmates in Indonesia. It’s also not a politically popular issue either, resulting the low priority for the welfare of prisoners.

However, overcrowding is simply not just a matter of not enough prisons, but also how the overall criminal justice system (involving the courts, police and the prosecutor’s office) is carried out in Indonesia. Patrialis Akbar, the previous Minister of Law and Human Rights, have also once said that overcrowding might also be caused by unnecessary prosecution of petty crimes. If trivial cases such as selling an iPad without a manual or an illiterate grandma “stealing” palm oil seeds worth Rp 2,000 (US$0.22) are being prosecuted, perhaps Patrialis has a point.

Separate from the problem of overcrowding, corruption in prisons should be given special attention. First and foremost, I would see that putting corruptors behind bars will have no penalizing effect, but freezing their assets and returning what belongs to the state should be the initial punitive action that prosecutors aim for. Afterwards, they can be put to jail as a secondary punishment.

When corruptors are held in prisons with access to their assets in hand, they have the opportunity to exploit the low incentives that the prison officers currently have and develop patron-client relationships within the confinement, as they have the means to pay the prison officers in exchange for better treatment.

If the government does not put a priority into how the prisons are being managed and look carefully on the human resources of people running the prisons, the problem will become a never ending cycle and most importantly, there is no incentive for people to deter themselves in doing corruption because they know they can easily pay their way out.

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In contrast with how prisons are run in Indonesia, this semester one of the case studies that I did in my public management class is on the Singapore Prison Service (SPS). The SPS have gained a lot of awards, from the Excellent Service Awards to the Top 10 Best Employers in Singapore.

I am amazed on how successful SPS is and how one can make a career in correctional facilities. One of the lessons learned in this case is that the achievement is largely due to the organizational culture embedded within SPS.

Recruitment ad for the Singapore Prison Service

Even though they are a government agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs, the SPS operates efficiently like a corporation. It gets the job done by emphasizing the common values shared by the people inside the organization, which shaped their attitudes and behavior aimed for better performance.

The organizational culture of the SPS was transformed by the leadership of Chua Chin Kiat, which took over the Director position in 1998 and was instrumental in directing the new vision and mission for the SPS, calling themselves the “Captains of Lives”. Prison officers believe that they are the Captains in the lives of inmates, responsible for their journey for rehabilitation, and not just punishment.

What I take away from the story of SPS is that code of ethics (like the one in Indonesia) can only go so much for controlling the behaviors of staff, as it is often violated without any real sanctions. It really takes the leadership of the organization to manage and motivate their people to take ownership for better results and leveraging culture is a powerful tool to do so.

Shaping culture should be strategically relevant. In the case of SPS, the “Captains of Lives” culture was aligned to their business strategy of “Executing Justice, Reducing Reoffending, and Preventing Offending”.

Employees should have intense training and socialization to embody this culture, recruitment should ideally be targeted for people that has the cultural fit (see recruitment ad above), and rewards system should be put in place (however, usually bureaucratic rules prevent organizations to do this). Culture will then empower people to think and act on their own in pursuit of the strategic objectives.

The SPS also collaborated with aftercare agencies in order to reduce the recidivism rates and gained public support with their yellow ribbon campaign, creating awareness to give ex-offenders second chances in society. I believe this aftercare rehabilitation process is important, especially in the case of terrorism acts in Indonesia as ex-offenders may regroup with their extremist communities after prison (they even recruit in prisons).

There are several other innovations that the SPS pursued, such as the cluster management system, integrated electronic database of inmates or better educational and rehabilitative activities, which had a lot to do with the SPS strategic planning and research branch, the “think-tank” of the organization.

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A lot of people say that Singapore had it easy because it’s a small country, unlike Indonesia. I believe the problem is not about size per se, but more on the political willingness to change how prisons are managed in Indonesia. I’ve explained the urgency of the problem in Indonesian prisons, and possible solutions from Singapore that the government can look at, so what else is the government waiting for?

Disillusioned by Corruption

The current Nazaruddin saga have perfectly captured Indonesia’s struggle in the fight against corruption. Did Indonesia’s government lost the battle, or was the duel insincere to begin with?

The current Nazaruddin saga have perfectly captured Indonesia’s struggle in the fight against corruption. Did Indonesia’s government lost the battle, or was the duel insincere to begin with?

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It worries me that some Indonesians deals the issue of corruption with cynicism, followed by apathy, and are sometimes subdued to its practices because it is seen to be “entrenched” in the system – as if there is no exit and no hope in trying to curb it out.

What also worries me is that the whole issue on corruption has taken over Indonesia’s mainstream and social media, leaving other important issues such as public health, education, the environment, and many others behind.

Last year, Prof. Robert Klitgaard, a renowned scholar on corruption, gave a talk on his five ingredients for the recipe to fight systemic corruption:

  1. Improve structure, leadership and incentives
  2. Take a whole-government approach
  3. Involve business and the people
  4. Subvert corruption
  5. Emphasize morality

Prof. Klitgaard firstly argues that we shouldn’t target corrupt individuals, but target corrupt structures. Corruption, can be seen in this formula:

Corruption = Monopoly + Discretion – Accountability

By using this formula, a successful anti-corruption effort is to reduce monopolies over a good and service, limit and clarify discretion, and raise accountability. My question to this statement is that just by raising accountability, it does not necessarily mean that it can control corruption straight away. I looked at the Worldwide Governance Indicators and compared Indonesia with its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia and China, based on voice and accountability and control of corruption.

World Governance Indicators on Voice and Accountability and Control on Corruption for selected countries in Southeast Asia and China

Indonesia tops the list in terms of voice and accountability, but when it comes to control on corruption, it is one of the poor performing countries. Based on the chart above[1], it gives me a certain confidence that voice and accountability[2] alone is not enough in controlling corruption. A critical media and transparency principles are needed to perform the checks and balances that are needed, but I would argue that the rule of law, especially the law enforcement agencies and judiciary institutions are pertinent to this equation.

An insulated and professional law enforcement agencies and judiciary are thus important, and it is what I see still lacking in Indonesia.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi – KPK) is one of the approach that Indonesia takes into curbing corruption. But this is where Prof. Klitgaard’s second ingredient comes in: a whole-government approach. Putting the weight into KPK as a single institution to fight corruption will not work, because a national anti-corruption agency is futile “if it cannot coordinate with the other ministries and agencies vital to prevent, prosecute, and punish corruption“. It is also dangerous to put all the power in KPK, as KPK itself is not free of political interests, and its investigators and prosecutors do come from the police force and the attorney general’s office as well.

Rather than focusing too much on who’s going to head KPK, tell me, how are we going so far with our reforms in the police force, attorney general’s office, and the supreme court? Not to forget our bureaucracy reform progress to correct Gayus and the likes in the tax department.

The basic concept of supply and demand in my sense can also be applied in corruption. The reason why bureaucrats and public officials become corrupt is because there is a demand and incentive for them to do so. And if the system provides that window of opportunity for misbehavior, then you got yourself a case. Businesspeople, lawyers, accountants, and other stakeholders involved with state institutions in general in their daily business, must be engaged actively in reducing corruption from the demand side.

This is exactly what is also happening in India, as an op-ed in the New York Times have suggested that there is a selective rage over corruption, whereby their citizens direct their rage towards the corrupt government, but they’re lenient towards the companies who did it too. It takes two hands to clap, anyway.

Now, if people were strategic about subverting corruption, one would make use of whistle-blowers. In Indonesia, however, the price for being a whistle-blower is too high. Sadly, sometimes if you’re telling the truth, you are offering yourself in a risky position.

Take for example the case of Siami, a housewife and mother from Surabaya, whereby she was forced by her neighbors to move out from her house after she reported a national exam cheating case in her son’s class at a state elementary school. How can you say no to corruption when cheating is seen as a customary practice in schools? Have society gone mad now that an honest person is seen as the bad guy?

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I fear that corruption is an issue which is now used as a political rhetoric. Every politician talks about it, how serious and detrimental it is, but no one has actually an idea and the strong will to get rid of it.

Perhaps because the very institution where these politicians come from are the breeding grounds for corruption itself. Nazaruddin was the (former) treasurer of the ruling political party after all.

[1] Chart methodology: Kaufmann D., A. Kraay, and M. Mastruzzi (2010), The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Methodology and Analytical Issues

[2] According to WGI, voice and accountability captures perceptions of the extent to which a country’s citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a free media

Where in the world is Nunun Sandiego?

Nunun Nurbaeti is a suspect regarding Miranda Goeltom’s bribery case surrounding her voting as the Senior Deputy Governor of Bank Indonesia in 2004, following the testimony that Nunun distributed Rp 22 billion in bribes to dozens of government officials and lawmakers. She suffered from “memory loss” and thus undergoes treatment in Singapore, but then she fled to Thailand and later it was found out that she’s in Cambodia.

Nunun Nurbaeti is a suspect regarding Miranda Goeltom’s bribery case surrounding her voting as the Senior Deputy Governor of Bank Indonesia in 2004, following the testimony that Nunun distributed Rp 22 billion in bribes to dozens of government officials and lawmakers. She suffered from “memory loss” and thus undergoes treatment in Singapore, but then she fled to Thailand and later it was found out that she’s in Cambodia.

I remember during my youth I played an edutainment game named “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?” which teaches us geography. We are supposed to chase the villain, Carmen Sandiego, across various places around the globe as she leaves a trail of hints to go to the next place where she’s heading before the time runs out. You would also need a warrant and make an arrest, thus if you obtain the wrong warrant or arrest the wrong guy, the villain will escape – you lose points and miss your chance to get promoted up the rank.

Where in the world in Nunun Sandiego?

I wouldn’t be surprised if suddenly Indonesian game developers make the similar Carmen Sandiego game but based on Nunun Nurbaeti’s efforts to run away from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the police.

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UPDATE – 9 June 2011

Turns out the Indonesian police applied for an Interpol red notice to arrest Nunun. Seems like our very own Carmen Sandiego is indeed in the making.

On a lighter note, I read in the newspaper today that she’s off to Viet Nam. Now I’m taking bets to find out when KPK (or Interpol) will finally catch Nunun. My friend bets for 2 weeks, I’m betting for 10 days. But if the Interpol indeed issued the red notice, perhaps 5 days.

Take your guess. Winner gets bragging rights in my blog.