Australia provides unclear clarification of people smugglers' bribery

Australia provides unclear clarification of people smugglers' bribery

Documentation of Australia's PM Tony Abbott talking about his country's assistance in recovering Aceh tsunamin in 2004-2005. (www.Twitter.com)

... we do not need to wait for the answer from Australia to process the case of those six people. Let the court prove and decide whether it (the bribery) happened or not...
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said Australia provided unclear clarification on the information received by the government that they had paid bribery to people smugglers to turn back their boat to the Indonesian territory.

Nasir stated here on Friday that Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi had received a letter from her Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop, which was passed on by Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson, in order to clarify the bribery issue.

"The letter is well-received, and Minister Marsudi has read it. But, there is no clarification in the letter, which has been asked by the minister to the Australian ambassador," he noted.

Thus, Nasir added that Indonesia could not be blamed for suspecting Australia of bribing the people smugglers since their government did not provide a new and clear confirmation.

"Indonesia cannot be blamed if we assume there is a bribery, despite the Australian commitment to combat people smugglers, but the fact in the field is not like that," he said.

Previously, the Indonesian authority had investigated six people, including ship crews and its captain, whose ship was caught in the Indonesian waters for carrying illegal migrants.

The result of the investigation revealed that they had received each AUD 5,000 from the Australian authority as a bribe to turn back their ship to the Indonesian territory.

The Indonesian government had asked for a clarification from the Australian government about the information through Ambassador Grigson, but the answer was very disappointing.

In fact, Nasir explained that the request for clarification was aimed at letting Australia off from the assumption and accusation.

"Hence, we do not need to wait for the answer from Australia to process the case of those six people. Let the court prove and decide whether it (the bribery) happened or not," he noted.

In regard with the issue, Prime Minister Tony Abbott neither denied nor confirmed the bribery, as reported by the Australian media.

Instead of providing a clear message, Abbott accused the Indonesian government of failing to secure its water territory, which caused the smugglers' boat carrying illegal migrants to go all the way to Australia.

Nasir emphasized that the Indonesian government was very committed to combating the people smuggling and trafficking. However, to tackle the matter effectively, it needs a comprehensive international cooperation with all sides, including the origin, transit and destination country.

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