JAKARTA – The director of Indonesia’s national airline has been fired over allegedly smuggling motorbikes using a commercial plane, the business minister announced Thursday.
Director of the airline Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra was accused of using a commercial Garuda Indonesia plane to smuggle a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and two high-end bicycles into the Asian country.
He allegedly commissioned the purchase of the bikes which were transported in an Airbus A330-900 from the French city of Toulouse to Jakarta last month, according to Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir.
“I will dismiss the Garuda president director and the process will be in accordance with regulated procedures,” Erick told reporters at a joint press conference with Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati.
“It won’t end there. We will also look further if there are any other people implicated in this case.
“We will process this thoroughly as the case caused state losses,” he added.
“This case has saddened me. While I’m working to raise the country’s image, some people within [SOEs] seem not to be ready,” the politician added.
The finance minister said the flight record omitted the goods, which contradicts a statement issued this week by Garuda Indonesia in which it said the motorcycle and bicycles had been declared at customs upon entering the country.
The smuggling of the vehicles, which were purchased through a transfer from the personal bank account of a Garuda financial manager in Amsterdam, resulted in a state loss of 532 million rupiahs (about $37,800), Indrawati said.
In 2018, Indonesia ranked 89th in the Corruption Perceptions Index published by the Transparency International NGO, an improvement on previous years.
Despite this, corruption remains a major concern for Indonesians.
In September, thousands of university students flooded the streets for weeks to protest, among other things, against a law reform of the law of Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) that detracted powers and independence from the organization.
The agency has the support of the majority of the population for its effectiveness in investigating high-level cases, including hundreds of members of parliament and some ministers of the current Joko Widodo government.