The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Ombudsman held a meeting on Wednesday with representatives of three ministries to discuss irregularities in the management of umrah (minor haj) travel in Indonesia.
Ombudsman member Ahmad Suaedy said the meeting was held to follow up on the results of its investigation into the operations of several umrah travel agents, including First Travel.
In its investigation, the Ombudsman found tens of thousands of people had reportedly fallen victim to fraud carried out by the travel agency.
Ahmad said the Ombudsman aimed to get information on the management of umrah travel providers, such their business permits, tax payments and other requirements regarding umrah arrangements, from the Religious Affairs Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Tourism Ministry.
“We will explain the results of our investigation into the First Travel umrah scam case. But we will discuss the management of umrah travel providers in Indonesia overall, not only First Travel. First Travel is only one of cases to be discussed,” said Suaedy as quoted by kompas.com prior to the meeting.
He said the Ombudsman’s investigation into First Travel began from public complaints and news reports about alleged fraud committed by the company.
“Only few of its victims filed a report but in fact, tens of thousands of people had fallen victim to its scam practices; hence, we launched an investigation,” said Suaedy.
Earlier, the Religious Affairs Ministry revoked First Travel’s permit to organize umrah travel. The company reportedly caused Rp 848.70 billion (US$63 million) in losses, involving 58,682 customers. (hol/ebf)