The Bali Prosecutors Office has confirmed the arrest of five immigration officers at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport.
The five officers have been taken into police custody on suspicion of abusing the fast track system in place for foreign nationals who need additional support on arrival.
The five officers were arrested on Tuesday 14th November and the Assistant for Special Crimes at the Bali High Prosecutors Office, Deddy Koerniawan, held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon confirming the details of the case.
Koerniawan told the press “this started with complaints from the public regarding the misuse of fast-track facilities. That’s why we went down on November 14th, 2023, and checked the field.”
The fast-track service at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International is a priority service facility that allows for certain groups and specific permit holders to be processed in a dedicated lane.
This priority service is only for the immigration part of the arrivals process and is not a paid-for service. This is a service that can be used by the elderly, pregnant women, children, and certain migrant workers.
Koerniawan has reported that he and his teams identified five immigration officers who were soliciting payment from foreigners to use the priority processing service; some who were eligible for fast track and some were not.
Koerniawan explained, “Fast track services are free of charge for priorities such as the elderly and pregnant women.”
”However, foreigners who use the fast track facility are [routinely being] charged between 100-250 thousand rupiah per person.”
He continued “There was an incident of fast-track levies with a nominal value of IDR 100-200 million per month. From this security, the Prosecutor’s Office managed to secure money worth IDR 100 million [USD 6,400].“
“Of course, these profits are illegal, and could damage the image of Bandra International Ngurah Rai,” Koerniawan confirmed that an investigation is now underway.
Bali Airport has a clear zero-tolerance policy on corruption. In fact, in 2019 officials from the airport signed an agreement to declare I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport a no corruption zone.
The agreement signed by leaders declared the integrity of the no-corruption zone.
A statement on the Bali Airport website regarding the no corruption zone states “Corruption Free Area (WBK) is a title given to government agencies whose leaders and staff are committed to realizing a Corruption Free Area (WBK) through bureaucratic reform, especially in preventing corruption and improving the quality of public services through structuring governance, structuring HR management systems, strengthening supervision, and strengthening performance accountability.”
Tourists are reminded that they should not pay for priority immigration services at Bali Airport and they should report any corruption or coercion to the authorities.
The management team at Bali Airport has spoken previously about their commitment to ensure the arrivals process at Bali Airport is as quick and effective as possible.
In the coming weeks, 90 new auto-gates will be installed across the international terminal, 60 in arrivals and 30 in departures.
This new system will be in full effect come early 2024 and the gates are not replacing staffed counters.
The new auto-gates will make the arrival and departure process far quicker for tourists and hopefully reduce queuing at busy times.; reducing the pressure on fast track lanes too.
Bali lovers familiar with the arrivals process at Ngurah Rai International are already raising concerns that queues could mount up again when the Bali tourism tax is introduced on the 14th of February 2024.
However, top immigration officials have confirmed that tourists will be able to pay their IDR 150,000 tourism tax online before touching down in Bali.
If they wish to pay on arrival, the Head of the Bali Tourism Board, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, has confidently assured tourists that payment will take just 23 seconds.
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