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Former Bali Tourism Chief Arrested

Gede Nurjaya Arrested in Investigation of Misuse of Bali Tourism Promotional Funds.

(10/9/2010) After a long period of silence, charges of corruption at the Bali Tourism Office (Disparda) are back in the news with the Bali Post reporting that the former chief of Tourism for the Province of Bali (Kadispara), I Gede Nurjaya, was arrested on Thursday, October 7, 2010.

A spokesman for the Denpasar Attorney General's office told the press that Nurjaya has been remanded into custody at the Kerobokan Prison.

The arrest of Nurjaya, the popular former chief of tourism for Bali, was sudden and unexpected. His arrest was confirmed by Nuraya's offspring who said: "Earlier this week, Father received a summons from the Denpasar Attorney Generals office. It said he was needed to clarify earlier examinations. However, much to our surprise our Father was immediately placed in prison."

Separately, a spokesman for the Prosecutor's office confirmed that Nurjaya had been placed in detention. At the same time, the spokesman would not reveal the reason for the detention, except to say that the arrest was done in accordance with established procedures.

Prior to his appointment to the top post in Bali tourism, Nurjaya served as the head of public relations and protocol for the province of Bali.

According to the Bali Post, Nurjaya's arrest has raised comments both pro can con from the local community. There are those who are applauding the arrest, saying the move will serve as a reminder to other corrupt officials. Conversely, there are those who point to Nurjaya's arrest as a case of selective enforcement, with other guilty parties evading arrest.

In the case alleging the misappropriation of tourism promotion funds and double claims for the same expenditures from both the provincial and central government, Putra Ambara was earlier named as a suspect in the case.

Earlier press reports stated that a report from a tourism official regarding the misuse of State funds designated for tourism promotion instigated the investigation. The supposed modus operandi involved the payment for a travel fair stand at the World Travel Mart (WTM) in London. The cost of renting the Bali exhibition stand at WTM was Rp. 120,804,000 (US$13,433). The subject fund were reportedly claimed and reimbursed twice; once form the provincial funds in Bali and from the national tourism promotion budget in Jakarta.