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Minister discloses visa-on-arrival irregularities
July 8th, 2009

The Justice and Human Rights Ministry has found irregularities to the tune of Rp 3 billion (US$292,000)  from Visa on Arrival (VOA) fees at the Ngurah Rai Internatonal Airport in Bali between October 2008 and May 2009.

“We received a report from the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) auditor several days ago that there is a disparity between the issuance of VOA fees with its financial report,” Justice and Human Rights Minister Andi Mattalatta told a media conference Monday.

He said there were two types of visa-on-arrivals, for periods less than and longer than a week, which cost US$10 and $25 respectively.

“The report showed most of the visas issued were for more than seven days, but the payments are listed as being only for a week, so there is a discrepancy here,” Andi said.

The visa-on-arrival process is now available for people from 63 countries at immigration checkpoints in 14 airports and 17 seaports nationwide.

The Ngurah Rai International Airport in Badung regency, just outside the provincial capital of Denpasar, is one of Indonesia’s busiest points of entrance.

About 1.9 million tourists visited Bali in 2008, spending an average of $1,000 per visit.

He acknowledged suspicion of the possible irregularities in the VOA fees was initially voiced
by head of the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office, Jusuf Hadi, who directly asked for the VOA to be
audited.

He also said the ministry’s e-office system, which was implemented in October 2008, was one of the factors that allowed the irregularities to be detected soon.

Director General for Immigration Basyir Ahmad Barmawi acknowledged the e-office system allowed all immigration data to be integrated.

“We have invested Rp 53 billion for the system that currently integrates 104 immigration offices throughout the nation.

“Currently we are working to integrate 27 major immigration check points. We have to take it in stages,” he said.

However, the system is so far only able to provide a database on the number of people arriving in Indonesia, who they are and what flight they arrived on.

“The system has yet to accommodate the issuance of VOA or visa fees for short visit (BVKS), but we will continue developing it”, he said.

Basyir said the e-office system allowed his office to access real-time data on 60 to 70 percent of people visiting Indonesia outside the BVKS and VOA schemes.

Andi said he already had the names of immigration officers who were allegedly “playing” with the VOA fees, but refused to reveal their identities.

“It is better if we wait for the BPK official report,” he said.

“We are now investigating what the worst practice is, how many officials are involved and how many times they did what they did,” he said.

He added deciding whether to discipline them internally or proceed with legal action would depend on how bad the role of the officials was and how much loss it had caused the state.

He added the ministry now planned to audit other major entrance points into Indonesia including the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which services Jakarta.

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