Episode 82: Flying Too Close to the Sun: The Garuda Smuggling Scandal


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In this episode, we discuss the recent Garuda smuggling scandal, which involved their president director Ari Askhara who had arranged for a vintage 1970s Harley Davidson, specialty Brompton foldable bikes, and their respective spare parts, to be smuggled into Indonesia through a Garuda plane, bypassing the appropriate taxes and the customs office. The level of corruption involved in making this operation happen implicated not only Askhara, but a lot of the directors and leaders in Garuda, prompting the new BUMN (State-Owned Enterprise) Minister Erick Thohir to fire Ari Askhara and suspend a number of Garuda directors. We talk about the audacity and ridiculousness of this scandal — not even Garuda’s first corruption scandal — not only because of how it unfolded, but also how apparent the wealth gap is and the insensitivity towards the life of the average Indonesian is coming from someone who is in charge of a national asset and is suppose to be somewhat serving the people. We discuss the responsibilities of a state-owned enterprise, and what this all means for Erick Thohir as he is just starting his job and asserting himself in this role.

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