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Jakarta Post

More people arrested over umrah scams in South Sulawesi

  • Andi Hajramurni

    The Jakarta Post

Makassar   /   Tue, April 10, 2018   /   06:04 pm
More people arrested over umrah scams in South Sulawesi Bargain umrah packages can be below Rp 20 million (US$1,503). (Shutterstock/File)

Police have arrested a travel agency executive in what appears to be the latest in a string of umrah (minor haj) scams.

Mahditiara Syafruddin is the executive director of PT Global Inspira Indonesia, a travel agency that offers pilgrimage packages.

She was arrested in Medan, North Sumatra, on Sunday. Her arrest follows that of her husband, Edwin Djabbar, the company’s executive commissioner.

They have been arrested for fraud after reportedly failing to fly out 6,300 aspiring pilgrims.

The estimated losses suffered by the victims total Rp 100 billion (US$7 million).

South Sulawesi Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Dicky Sondani said on Tuesday that the two would be charged with fraud and embezzlement, which carries a minimum prison sentence of five years.

Police have investigated the case since November 2017.

“Edwin has been detained since [November], while Mahditiara moved cities to avoid arrest but was eventually arrested on Sunday in Medan before being taken to Makassar,” Dicky said.

Edwin claimed bankruptcy as the reason for failing to send the aspiring pilgrims on the trip.

The company has operated since 2010 and offered umrah trips at bargain prices.

Meanwhile, Resor Barru Police in South Sulawesi have arrested Lukman Jamaluddin, owner of the PT Safa Marwah Aulia Utama travel agency, and named him a suspect in another alleged umrah scam. At least 400 people have reportedly fallen victim to his travel agency. (swd)