Indonesia to fire airline CEO over smuggling accusation

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s State-Owned Enterprises Minister said yesterday he will fire and seek the prosecution of the head of the national airline after he was implicated in the smuggling of a Harley Davidson motorcycle into the country on a new jet.

Minister Erick Thohir, said at a news conference in Jakarta that a government investigation found Garuda Indonesia President and CEO Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra was involved in the attempt to import the motorcycle on a new Airbus A330neo being delivered from France without declaring it.

The jet is one of 14 A330neo planes ordered by the airline that will be delivered gradually until 2022. Danadiputra, his wife and other airline executives were on the November 16 flight, according to the manifest. “I’m very sad. This has tarnished the image of state-owned enterprises,” Thohir said. “We will not stop here, we will keep seeking other persons involved in this case.”

His comments came days after customs officials found the motorcycle and other goods when the flight arrived at Garuda’s maintenance facility in Jakarta’s airport.

A Garuda spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment on the accusations.

A red Harley Davidson and other goods were displayed at the news conference.

Thohir said the state could have lost up to 1.5 billion rupiah (USD107,200) in import taxes.

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, (2nd from R) and Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Eric Thohir, (R) inspect a Harley Davidson motorcycle found by customs officials on a Garuda Indonesia’s new Airbus A330-900 being delivered from France, prior to the start of a press conference in Jakarta. PHOTO: AP