It started as a tip-off from whistle-blower Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji almost a year ago, but now the tax crimes of former tax official Gayus H. Tambunan have snowballed into a giant mess with no in sight.
After a joint meeting with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the Directorate General of Taxation on Monday, the police said the three institutions were studying tax documents on 151 local and foreign companies whose tax appeals were managed directly or indirectly by Gayus.
“The meeting was held to discuss the investigation into the tax documents, which we need analyzed
for our investigations,” National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said.
He added that police were awaiting more documents and were currently focused on 44 of the 151 firms in their investigation because their tax appeals were handled directly by Gayus.
“We will single out those found most suspicious and see whether there are indications of irregularities in Gayus’ official handling of the appeals,” he said.
Boy said the other 107 companies were not directly managed by Gayus but their documents contained Gayus’ name.
Before he became a suspect — and eventually a convict — in the graft case, Gayus’s role at the tax office was to process the tax appeals filed by firms that disagreed with the taxes levied on them.
He was recently sentenced to seven years in prison and fined Rp 300 million for bribery as well as misusing his authority by accepting tax appeals by a seafood company, PT Surya Alam Tunggal (PT SAT).
“We are learning from the SAT case, in which data was manipulated. Investigators will look to identify whether similar practices were carried out in the tax appeals of the other companies,” he said.
Bambang Soesatyo, a legislator from the House of Representatives’ Commission III overseeing legal affairs, confirmed that the list of 151 companies included large domestic and foreign firms.
Tuesday’s joint meeting also marked KPK’s entry into the investigations into the tax crime. KPK chairman Busyro Muqoddas said the commission would scrutinize all tax documents on the 151 companies and vowed to complete all investigations this year.
“This case must not end at Gayus, but at other parties who may have been involved,” Busyro said.
Indonesia Corruption Watch’s Adnan Topan Husodo said investigators must focus their investigation on the large companies.
“There is a clear correlation between big companies and the amount [of cash bribes] given to Gayus [for assisting them in their tax appeals]. If Gayus received only Rp 5 million from a company, then the amount saved by that company [due to their tax appeals being approved] is not likely to have been very large,” he said.
Boy said police would pore over the tax documents with the help of KPK and the tax office.
Adnan said the role of the tax office in the investigation was very helpful and would benefit the institution itself.
“What needs to be emphasized is that the Directorate General of Taxation must reassess the tax matters of companies that were involved with Gayus,” he said.
Incidents of taxpayers bribing tax officials to reduce their taxes were quite common, Adnan added.