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The Zen of Motorcycle Smuggling

Garuda Indonesia CEO Fired by BUMN Minister for Smuggling Harley Davidson Spare Parts on Board a Delivery Flight of New Airbus A330-900 NEO

The CEO of Garuda Indonesia, I Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra, has been fired from his post by the Minister of State-owned Enterprises (BUMN), Erick Thohir. As reported by bisniswisata.co.id, the sudden dismissal apparently stems from a failed attempt to smuggle spare parts for a Harley Davidson Motorcycle and two Brompton folding bicycles on the delivery flight of a new Airbus A330-900 NEO from Toulouse, France to Jakarta on November 17, 2019.

The dramatic firing took place after Thohir received a report from a special audit team filed on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The audit team concluded that the purchase of the Harley Davidson components and their loading as passenger luggage on the delivery flight were done on the orders of the Garuda President Director.

The BUMN Minister called on those involved in the smuggling attempt to simply resign their posts rather than face an embarrassing and prolonged formal dismissal process.

When firing Askhara, Thohir pledged to ferret out others involved in the current case. “We will see if there are others involved in this case; this is not just a civil, but also a criminal matter that has caused losses to the Country. When we are working to raise the image and synergy of a State-owned company but there are still internal players unprepared (to join the joint effort), so this is what happens,” said Thohir.

Indonesia Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, confirmed that the illegal smuggling of the parts for a Harley Davidson and Brompton folding bikes have caused losses to the Indonesian Nation. Adding, “We calculate the total losses caused to the nation are between Rp. 532 million and Rp. 1.5 billion.”

Sri Mulyani explained to the press that the Harley Davidson that was smuggled on board the Garuda jet was a vintage model from the 1970s. The price of the motorcycle ranged, depending on its condition, between Rp. 200 – Rp. 800 million. The two Brompton bicycles have a value of between Rp. 50-60 million each.

Viewing the incident as an attempt to avoid customs duties and sales taxes, Sri Mulyani ordered that the Customs Department carry out a thorough examination in accordance with the law.

The delivery trip of a Garuda Indonesia A330-900 NEO from the Airbus Factory in Toulouse, France to Jakarta was apparently used by Garuda’s CEO to smuggle the contraband into Indonesia.

The Harley Davidson used spare parts and two folding Brompton Bicycles were found in 18 cardboard boxes of luggage carried on the delivery flight that landed in Jakarta on November 17, 2019. The Harley-Davidson Parts were seized by Indonesian Custom officials after the plane touched down at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Commenting on the arrival of the new airplane in Jakarta on November 17, 2019, the Corporate Secretary of Garuda Indonesia. Ikhsan Rosan, said: "The customs inspection did not reveal any customs violation in the cockpit and passenger cabin, but in the baggage compartment Customs  found several large motorcycle spare parts that are not produced in Indonesia that were brought by one of the Garuda employees onboard  the flight and must be processed in accordance with Customs and Excise rules and regulation.”

“Before landing at the Soekarno-Hatta international airport, Garuda Indonesia submitted a notification letter and request for permission permit to the airport authority to allow Garuda Indonesia to take the aircraft directly to the Garuda Maintenance Facility (GMF) where all immigration and customs processing would take place,” Ikhsan added.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi said he would coordinate through the Director-General of Civil Aviation to work closely with the management of Garuda Indonesia to ensure the Airline operates smoothly and safely despite the sudden removal of its CEO.

It remains to be seen if Thohir will appoint an ad-interim CEO for Garuda or immediately appoint a permanent replacement for I Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra.

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