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Vice President Calls for Firing of Bali Immigration Officer

Letter from Australian Tourist Causes Suspension of Bali Immigration Officer and Prompts Inspection Visit by Vice President Jusuf Kalla at Bali's Airport.

(9/29/2007) An angry complaint from an Australian tourist regarding his run in with a corrupt immigration officer at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport on September 16, 2007 precipitated a surprise visit by Indonesia's Vice President Jusuf Kalla to Bali's Airport on September 26th and a public demand that the immigration officer, Nanang Yunanto, be fired.

In a widely circulated letter from Geoff and Dorothy Longhurst is told the harrowing tale of how JetStar failed to adequately screen passports on one of their Bali-bound flights, allowing Mrs. Longhurst to board a flight with less than the mandatory 6 month's remaining validity in her passport. In fact, Ms. Longhurst arrived in Bali with only 5 months and 2 weeks remaining in her passport. As a result, Dorothy faced the prospect of denied entry to Indonesia and immediate deportation back to Australia.

According to the letter, the Longhurst's were ushered into a side office at the airport where an immigration officer, identified as Nanang Yunanto, offered to resolve their immigration problem for an unofficial fee of US$4,000, later lowered to US$2,000.

In the end, according to the letter, the officer became abusive and the Longhurts were compelled to return to Australia on the next flight.

Incensed at the crass behavior of the immigration officer, Bali tourism leaders brought the Longhurt's letter to the attention of ranking immigration officials in Bali who, to their credit, relived Yunanto of his Bali post, assigning the man outside the island for eventual disposition by National immigration officials.

While Indonesia's Vice President, Jusuf Kalla was in Bali to open the PATA Conference, he paid a surprised visit on the Airport immigration office were he demanded that Yunanto be fired for his alleged extortion against the Australian tourists. Kalla told the local press, "Make an official ceremony and take stern action; openly fire him and announce it to the mass media."

Said to be incensed over the action of the immigration officer, the Vice President characterized the action by Yunanto as "unforgivable" requiring that the erring government official be made a public example for the purpose of educating other civil servants.

The Director General of Immigration promised Vice President Kalla that one the investigation against Yunanto is completed and his guilt documented he would be compelled to attend a mass assembly of immigration officers to be stripped of his rank and uniform as part of his dismissal process from the immigration service.

During his visit to the airport in Bali, Kalla also called for higher levels of service to international passengers and faster processing time at immigration counters.