Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Troubled Taxman Rafael to Lose Job over Suspicious Wealth

Herman, Muhammad Aulia
March 9, 2023 | 5:16 pm
Tax official Rafael Alun Trisambodo visits the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building in Jakarta on March 1 to report his wealth. (Joanito De Saojoao)
Tax official Rafael Alun Trisambodo visits the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building in Jakarta on March 1 to report his wealth. (Joanito De Saojoao)

Jakarta. Rafael Alun Trisambodo, an embattled tax official accused of having unexplained wealth, has been recommended dishonorable discharge by the Finance Ministry which previously turned down his resignation.

His case has triggered a public inquiry into the lifestyle of tax and customs officials who deal with massive amounts of tax obligations among business entities.

The recommendation came after the anti-money laundering agency PPATK froze dozens of bank accounts belonging to Rafael and his family members over suspicious transactions in recent years worth Rp 500 billion ($32.4 million) – not proportionate with his lawfully acquired income.

“We have concluded an investigative audit on Rafael and he is proven of serious violations of disciplinary conduct. We recommend dismissal for him,” Awan Nurmawan Nuh, the ministry’s inspector general, said in Jakarta on Wednesday.


The recommendation was agreed upon by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Awan said.

Rafael was earlier removed from his post as a general affairs division head at the South Jakarta Tax Office and put on administrative duty amid reports that his son had brutally assaulted a teenage boy who is now lying in a coma at the hospital.

The public inquiry into the son, Mario Dandy Satriyo, found that he often flaunted wealth like expensive cars and big motorbikes on social media posts. Mario is currently being detained by the Jakarta Police on charges of violent attacks.

Rafael submitted his resignation letter in late February after reports emerged about his son and the family's lavish lifestyle but the ministry turned down his request, arguing that a troubled official cannot resign pending the ongoing investigation.

In his recent filing to the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, Rafael claimed that he owns Rp 56 billion worth of personal wealth.

But the inspector general said Rafael has lied about his wealth because there are other assets he failed to report.

“Some of the assets were registered under nominees who include his affiliates, such as the parents, siblings, or friends,” Awan said.

“We have information indicating that RAT attempted to hide his assets and their sources,” Awan added, referring to Rafael by initials.

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Furthermore, Rafael has worked as a middleman which causes a conflict of interest with his official duty, the official said without going into details.

Reports said that Rafael or a family member has a share in a tax consultant firm.

Awan said the ministry has established three investigative teams on Rafael with different tasks: matching his public filing with his actual wealth, finding his unreported assets, and investigating suspected frauds.

Rafael lives a lavish lifestyle beyond the ethical boundary of a civil servant, Awan said, adding that the ministry will summon 69 other officials across the country to clarify their suspicious wealth.

If found guilty by the ministry, Rafael will be stripped of his pension funds after the dismissal, Finance Ministry Secretary-General Heru Pambudi said.

The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, or PPATK, said it has frozen dozens of bank accounts belonging to Rafael’s family members, mostly his wife.

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