The President and CEO of Garuda Indonesia is set to be fired. after he was caught smuggling a classic motorcycle and other goods on board an Airbus A330neo during its delivery flight.
Erick Thohir, the Indonesian Minister of State Owned Enterprises, said he will fire and seek the prosecution of the CEO of Garuda Indonesia, I Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra, also known as Ari Askhara; after it was found that he smuggled a Harley Davidson motorcycle and two folding bikes into the country.
By not declaring the goods and smuggling them on board a new aircraft from Toulouse, France, it is understood Askhara avoided custom duties of up to $107,000.
On board the aircraft at the time of the delivery flight was Askhara, his wife and other airline executives as well as ten crew members, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I’m very sad. This has tarnished the image of state-owned enterprises. We will not stop here, we will keep seeking other persons involved in this case.”Erick Thohir, the Indonesian Minister of State Owned Enterprises via the Sydney Morning Herald
The discovery of the goods was made upon arrival at Garuda Indonesia’s maintenance facility in Jakarta, where the aircraft was met by customs officials.
Photos of the seized goods, presented at a news conference, show a red classic Harley Davidson, two high-end folding bicycles and other related goods.
Thohir says an audit committee has testified that Askhara purchased the motorcycle in April. through a bank transfer, via a personal account of Garuda Indonesia’s finance manager in Amsterdam.
This news comes as another blow for the airline who has been subject to intense financial review. In June Garuda was asked by Indonesia’s financial watchdog to restate their financial results for 2018, after multiple accounting errors were discovered.
Askhara has held his position at Garuda for just over one year; he has helped the airline go from a $179 million loss in 2018 to a profit of $112 million in the first nine months to the end of September.
Whether or not he gets fired from the airline will depend on shareholder approval and, if he does get dismissed, his replacement will be the fifth to hold the position since 2014.