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BUMN Minister Cleans House at Garuda with a Vengeance

BUMN Minister Fires the Entire Board of Directors of Garuda Indonesia

Following his decision to summarily dismiss the President Director of Garuda Indonesia, Ari Ashkara, on Thursday, December 5, 2019, and appoint Faud Rizal as interim CEO, the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) Erick Thohir decided to double down and dismiss the entire board of directors of the National Flag Carrier two days later on December 7, 2019.

While the firing of Ashkara was linked to the illegal smuggling of a Harley Davidson Motorcycle and two Brampton Folding Bicycles concealed as “passenger luggage” on the November 17th delivery flight from Toulouse France of a new Airbus A33—900 NEO, the termination of the entire board of directors appears to be more of a general “house cleaning” and not necessarily connected to illicit smuggling undertaken by the now disgraced former CEO.

After firing Garuda’s CEO on Thursday, two days later on Thursday Thohir convened a meeting of Garuda’s Commissioners at which time he announced the termination of all the remaining directors for the National flag carrier.

As reported by Detik.com, the Chief Commissioner of PT Garuda Indonesia, Sahala Lumbun Gaol, announced the following: "Today, on December 7th, a meeting with the Minister of State-owned Enterprises (BUMN) with the Board of Commissioners of PT Garuda Indonesia was held. An agreement was reached to temporarily suspend all members of the board of directors who are indicated to be involved directly or indirectly in the alleged smuggling of Harley and Brompton on flight GA 9721 on a new Airbus A330-900 Neo being delivered from the Airbus factory in France on November 17, 2019 to Soekarno Hatta, Cengkareng in accordance with applicable regulations."

The “temporary” suspension of the board of director will remain in effect until an extraordinary meeting of shareholders can be convened that, according to company bylaws, must be held within 45 days counting from Monday, December 9, 2019. Once a shareholders’ meeting occurs it is expected that the termination of the entire board of directors and the CEO will be made permanent.

In Indonesia,  a Board of Commissioner is responsible for supervising the management of a company and ensuring that it is being run in strict accordance with the articles of association. The Board of Commissioner supervise and advise the company’s board of directors.

An expert staff of the BUMN Minister in charge of public communication, Arya Sinulingga, told the press that there were four directors of Garuda Indonesia onboard the delivery flight from Toulouse to Jakarta. According to current rules, Garuda Indonesia directors can only travel abroad with written permission in advance from the BUMN Minister. The four directors reportedly did not hold the required permission letter for their trip to the Airbus factory in France.

The four directors  technically AWOL from Garuda were: I Gusti Ngurah Askhara (President Director), Iwan Joeniarto (Technical Director and Director of Service), Mohammad Iqbal (Director of Cargo and Business Development), and Heri Akhyar (Director of Human Capital).

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