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Jakarta Post

First Travel 'umrah' scam convict files case review over company’s assets ruling

  • Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, August 11, 2020   /   05:49 pm
First Travel 'umrah' scam convict files case review over company’s assets ruling Andika Surachman (left) and wife Aniesa Hasibuan (center) as well as Siti Nuraida Hasibuan, aka Kiki Hasibuan (right), of the 'umrah' (minor haj) trip-planning company First Travel attend their 'umrah' scam case hearing at the Depok District Court in West Java on May 7, 2018. (Antara/Indrianto Eko Suwarso)

Convicted scammer Andika Surachman on Tuesday filed a case review against a 2019 Supreme Court ruling that denied his company’s seized assets be returned to him in an umrah (minor haj) package scam case. 

In 2018, the Depok District Court in West Java sent trip-planning company First Travel bosses Andika, Anniesa Hasibuan and Kiki Hasibuan, to prison for scamming Rp 905 billion (US$61 million) from more than 63,000 hopeful pilgrims.

The court also ruled the government confiscate the company’s Rp 25 billion in assets, which were seized as evidence for any future investigation. 

In 2019, the Supreme Court upheld the decision on the company's assets. 

Andika’s lawyer Boris Tampubulon said that his client, who is the owner and president director of the company, requested the case review so the government would not take away his company's assets.

“We plead all assets of First Travel be returned to the convicts so that we can seek reconciliation with our customers,” Boris told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. “The [ruling on asset confiscation] does not reflect a sense of justice for the public, the convicts or the thousands of would-be pilgrims.”

Boris said that if the assets were to be given back to the convicts, they could return the money belonging to the would-be pilgrims.

“In fact, [the court’s ruling] dispelled all hopes. The convicts are punished with extraordinary sentences and their property was confiscated for the state instead of being returned to the customers,” he said.

The court sentenced Andika and wife Anniesa, also the company’s owner and director, to 20 years and 18 years of imprisonment, respectively, and ordered each of them to pay a fine of Rp 10 billion for the crime. The company’s financial director Kiki was sent to prison for 15 years and ordered to pay a fine of Rp 5 billion for her involvement in the misdemeanor. 

Boris said that, to date, the scam victims had not received any compensation, even after several legal measures, including filing a debt postponement petition with the commercial court and reporting the case to the police.

In December last year, First Travel scam victims saw another defeat when the Depok District Court rejected a civil lawsuit filed by some 3,000 customers demanding a refund.

Prior to the case that came to light in 2017, the travel agency gained a reputation by offering a cheap umrah package. One victim reportedly said the company only charged around Rp 9 million per person for a pilgrimage package in 2013, while other trip planners charged about Rp 15 million per person.