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Fighting Tax Mafia
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The arrest of Tommy Hendratno by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is another addition to a string of reports about tax fraud. This means that earlier reports of taxmen jailed for receiving bribes has not deterred other offenders. Therefore, efforts to deal with bribery cases one by one need to be escalated into a full-scale war against tax mafia. Tommy was arrested by a KPK official after receiving money from James Gunardjo, allegedly a representative from a large company. He was handed Rp280-million in cash inside a brown envelope. Tommy was not a regular employee; he is a director of supervision and consultation of the Sidoarjo Tax Office in East Java. The public is outraged by the fact that such practices still continue despite many taxmen being sent to jail for such misconduct. Former directorate-general of taxation officer Bahasyim Assifie, for instance, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for tax manipulation. Bahasyim’s assets worth Rp64 billion were also confiscated. On the other hand, another taxman Gayus Tambunan was sentenced to 12 year in prison for receiving bribes. Furthermore, Dhana Widyatmika, also a taxman, is currently undergoing legal proceedings for a similar case. We expect the KPK to be courageous when dealing with the major companies that have been bribing people like Tommy. These companies are willing to disburse hundreds of million rupiah in bribe money to avoid paying hundreds of billions of rupiah in taxes to the state. The effort to fight tax mafia also depends on the seriousness of the Directorate-General of Taxation. Tax reforms have been made, but the misconduct of employees has not been severely penalized. In 2011, a total 263 taxmen were suspended for violating rules and regulations. However, not one of them were fired. This year, out of 39 problematic taxmen, only two have been dismissed.