Ministry Backs Return of First Travel's Assets to Victims

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • The defendants in the First Travel umrah (minor haj) scam, Andika Surachman, Anniesa Hasibuan, and Siti Nuraida alias Kiki Hasibuan, are present at the Depok District Court in West Java to hear the verdict, May 30, 2018. They are found guilty of laundering the money of would-be pilgrims. TEMPO/M Taufan Rengganis

    The defendants in the First Travel umrah (minor haj) scam, Andika Surachman, Anniesa Hasibuan, and Siti Nuraida alias Kiki Hasibuan, are present at the Depok District Court in West Java to hear the verdict, May 30, 2018. They are found guilty of laundering the money of would-be pilgrims. TEMPO/M Taufan Rengganis

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe Ministry of Religious Affairs has thrown its weight behind the option that the assets of First Travel, a travel company that committed an umrah (minor haj) scam, should be returned to would-be pilgrims who failed to go on pilgrimage. 

    “Because those [the firm's assets] are their rights, the people’s rights that must be given back,” said Religious Affairs Deputy Minister Zainut Tauhid at the Vice Presidential Office, Jakarta, Monday, November 18.

    The ministry expected the assets to be handed out to the scam victims in the form of money or that the victims should be facilitated to perform umrah in accordance with the Religious Affairs Minister's Decree No. 589/2017.

    However, Zainut opined the Supreme Court’s ruling to return the company’s assets to the state coffer was not necessarily a bad call, given the lawsuit against the firm was in the domain of the criminal law. The question was whether the state would make a policy to return the assets to the victims, he added.

    “The order will be arranged after the prosecutor takes a legal step,” Zainut added.

    Referring to the court’s verdict No. 3096 K/Pid.Sus.2018, the travel agent’s assets would not be returned to the people, but rather seized for the country.

    The total confiscated goods amounted to 820 items, 529 of which had economic values, including money worth Rp1.527 billion, 774 pieces of clothes, 6 cars, 3 houses, an apartment, an office building, and valuable objects such as jewelry collected by the firm’s bosses.

    Previously, the advocate of First Travel victims, Luthfi Yazid, filed an objection letter against the process and the implementation of the auction of the firm’s assets. “The notice is sent to the Religious Affairs Ministry, the Finance Ministry, and the Supreme Court,” said Yazid, Saturday, November 17.

    FRISKI RIANA