Garuda Indonesia is again at the centre of a new scandal as spare parts of several Harley Davidson as well as two Brompton folding bicycle were found on a new Airbus A330-900neo, specially flown from Toulouse to Jakarta with only airlines executives on board.
Worst is the fact that Garuda VP for communication had to explain why Harley Davidson spare parts as well as an expansive folding bicycle brand Brompton were found with cargo flown with Garuda newly delivered aircraft Airbus A330-900neo. Indonesian media Kompas.com reported that VP for communication Ikhsan Rosan told that, “the goods belonged to several airline employees on the flight and were currently being held by customs and excise officials. Several of our employees carried spare parts. If[customs officials] want us to pay for [import taxes], we will pay for them. If they prohibit the items, we will return them,” Ikhsan declared as quoted by kompas.com.
The discovery raised questions from governments’ officials as the aircraft carried a number of Garuda Indonesia executives and employees, according to the list of passengers.
According to Reuters, Garuda Indonesia chief executive, Ari Askhara, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the allegations by State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir that spare parts were for Askhara, who consequently tried to evade paying tax on a Harley Davidson motorcycle worth $57,000.
Thohir told at a news conference that Garuda Indonesia chief executive, who took up his role in September 2018, had ordered a Harley Davidson motorbike last year and bought it in April 2019.The payment was made through a Garuda finance manager based in Amsterdam, who also assisted in delivery of the motorbike, Thohir said. “This process was done completely within a state-owned company, not only by an individual,” the minister said, reported Reuters.
He did not say when Askhara would be dismissed but that the ministry would investigate whether other Garuda personnel were involved. Two high-end bicycles, which Thohir said were not declared to customs, were also found on the jet.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told the news conference the state could lose between 532 million rupiah to 1.5 billion rupiah in tax revenue because of the incident.
Other Garuda officials onboard the plane who initially said they owned the items, could also face charges if they were found to have made false statements, she said.
Garuda has been struggling to improve its profitability. In June, Indonesia’s financial regulator ordered Garuda to “fix and restate” its 2018 financial results over accounting errors.
In April, two of Garuda’s largest private shareholders questioned the airline’s 2018 results and alleged it misrepresented a $240 million financial transaction. The airline rejected the allegation.
It is now expected that the embattled Chief Executive would tend his resignation with other executives. “It would be better if they resigned before they got caught,” added Thohir during the news conference.
(Sources: the Jakarta Post, Reuters)