State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir has said he will fire the president director of flag-carrier Garuda Indonesia, Ari Askhara, following the discovery of a disassembled Harley Davidson motorcycle and Brompton folding bicycles smuggled on board a new Airbus A330-900 plane being delivered to the airline.
“I will dismiss the Garuda president director and the process will be in accordance with regulated procedures,” Erick told a joint press conference with Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati in Jakarta on Thursday.
As a publicly listed company, Garuda will need to hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting (RUPSLB) to remove a member of its board of directors.
“It won’t end there. We will also look further if there are any other people implicated in this case. We will process this thoroughly as the case caused state losses,” Erick said.
On Tuesday, customs officials reported the discovery of high-end contraband on board a new Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330-900 plane when it arrived from France last month.
The discovery raised eyebrows among officials as the aircraft was carrying only Garuda Indonesia executives and employees, according to the flight manifest.
Garuda Indonesia spokesperson M. Ikhsan Rosan previously explained the existence of the illegal cargo on Tuesday, saying the goods belonged to several airline employees on the flight and had been seized by customs and excise officials.
Erick said at the press conference that an audit committee provided testimony that the smuggled Harley Davidson was allegedly owned by Ari as the latter instructed the airline staff to find him a classic motorcycle in 2018.
The transaction was carried out in April through a bank transfer to the account of Garuda’s finance manager in Amsterdam.
“This case has saddened me. While I’m working to raise the country’s image, some people within [SOEs] seem not to be ready,” Erick said.