Garuda Indonesia CEO Fired For Smuggling Harley Davidson Into The Country On New Airbus Jet

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Garuda Indonesia is in the news again and this time it’s the CEO who is making headlines as the authorities found he schemed to smuggle a Harley Davidson motorcycle into Indonesia when taking delivery of a new Airbus jet.

The bike was in individual parts that weren’t declared to Indonesian customs and the officers in charge also found two high end folding bicycles that were likely supposed to reach senior management as well.

Garuda Indonesia is a state-owned enterprise and as such the government has lots of say in it’s personnel affairs which lead to the CEO being fired following an audit of the situation.

As Bloomberg News reported yesterday that the Harley was even purchased with the help of Garuda’s overseas management through an intermediary account.

The chief executive officer of airline PT Garuda Indonesia is getting fired for allegedly ordering a classic Harley-Davidson motorcycle to be smuggled into the country on a brand new Airbus jet.

I Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra will be dismissed after the airline’s audit committee found he had ordered the purchase of the classic Harley Shovelhead, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said. The Garuda CEO, who is also known as Ari Askhara, gave instructions in 2018 to find the motorcycle and the purchase was made in April 2019 through a transfer via a personal account of Garuda’s finance manager in Amsterdam, Thohir said.

“This will not stop there,” Thohir told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday. “We will continue to find other individuals who might be related to this case.”

The manifest of the ferry flight from Toulouse to Jakarta showed the aircraft had 22 people on board and carried no cargo, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said, contradicting a statement Garuda made this week that the goods had been declared to customs.

The smuggling of the goods deprived the state of 532 million rupiah ($38,000) to 1.5 billion rupiah, Indrawati said. Customs officers also found two high-end Brompton folding bikes in the cargo of the aircraft.

The shipping of “goods into Indonesia through illegal means happens often and under various modus operandi and through many channels,” Indrawati said. “I have ordered the customs and excise office to step up the supervision.”

Askhara took the helm of the loss-making airline in September 2018 and promised a turnaround. Garuda reported a $5 million profit for 2018, but in July this year it revised its accounts to show a $175 million net loss and scrapped a $241.9 million in-flight entertainment deal after Indonesian authorities found irregularities related to the contract. …

This sounds like a pretty elaborate scheme just to save some money in import duties. As a prominent business executive in Indonesia the CEO Mr. Askhara for sure commands a very high salary and should be able to pay for luxury goods such as a motorcycle and import the Harley properly.

I’m surprised that Airbus or the french authorities allow foreign cargo being loaded onto the aircraft before it takes off from their factory in Toulouse. Especially with an incorrect manifest, what is going on there?

Conclusion

A classic case of executive greed paired with a laissez faire attitude when it comes to actually policing certain figures to the point of where they disregard the law entirely.

Indonesia has been trying to fight corruption at least on the surface but of course the country is notorious for it’s illegitimate under the table deals and personal connections. Customs is very thorough though, I’ve been searched at customs in Jakarta and Bali several times.

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