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Bali Immigration Officers Avoid Criminal Charges

Immigration Officials Negotiate a Settlement with State Audit Board on 'Loss' of Nearly US$300,000 Caused by 44 Officials at Bali's Airport.

(8/3/2009) As reported on balidiscovery.com [See: Corruption Scandal at Bali's Airport], 44 immigration officers at Bali's main airport have been under investigation for embezzling an estimated Rp. 3 billion (US$294,000) in visa-on-arrival fees between October 2008 and May 2009.

Kompas reports that a decision has been made by the Immigration Department to limit punishments to only disciplinary and administrative sanctions.

In announcing the settlement of the case, the Director General of Immigration, Basyir Ahmad Barmawi, told the 44 officers that they were "all considered like children or younger brothers and sisters whose mistakes can be remedied."

Following an investigation by the State Audit Board (BPK), a decision has been made reduce the rank of the offending officers and order them to repay the missing Rp. 3 billion. The money to be repaid by each of the 44 immigration officers varies from between Rp. 70 million to Rp. 100 million (US$6,800 US$9,800).

Investigators concluded that the officers colluded to embezzle the visa fees by surrendering only a US$10 fees for a 7-day visa when, in fact, US$25 had been collected for a 30-day visa by arriving tourists. Through a process of reverse extrapolation, a portion of the visa fees of approximately 20,000 foreign tourist were misappropriated in this manner during the subject six month period.

The Secretary-General of the Department of Justice and Human Rights, Abdul Bari Azed, told Kompas that his office had purposely met with the BPK to find a way out via the imposition of disciplinary and administrative sanctions, preventing the case from changing into a criminal prosecution.

Following the announcement of the decision, the 44 offending officers left the building without commenting to the press.

In Jakarta the Minister of Law and Human Rights called on the BPK to audit all of Indonesia's national air gateways, admitting that it was not impossible that similar violations had occurred in other places.