We have long maintained that the culprits of the language school scams in Indonesia could not have operated with such impunity if they were not protected by powerful people within Indonesia’s elite. After all, you need something like 30 to 40 different permits to start a small business in Indonesia. Yet these schools have mushroomed all over the Greater Jakarta area and beyond very rapidly and there have never been reports of raids by nosy government officials. Clearly, the owners of these new schools either had powerful connections or they were spending a fortune in bribes. After all, we heard that many of these schools were not even registered as companies; yet they were allowed to do business with no interference from government departments.
Those suspicions grew ever stronger when we heard that numerous people had gone to the Education Ministry (Dikdasmen), the police and the Manpower Ministry to report what was going on, but no action was ever taken. These were the departments who ruthlessly harassed legitimate businesses, yet they were completely disinterested in going after true crooks. What was the story here? Knowing about Indonesia’s corruption-wracked state works, you are bound to conclude that serious corruption and collusion is involved. We can now confirm that one of the worst malefactors in the whole scandalous ‘multi-language school’ scam, a man by the name of Fenty Firdaus Sugama, is indeed powerfully connected the senior government and military figures.
The following information was received from one of our Indonesian informants. We are most grateful for it.
Fenty Firdaus Sugama
Fenty is a member of a powerful and well-connected family. In fact, she was always telling people that her family were ”orang penting”: important people, VIPs, big fish. Her cousin is the deputy mayor of Mando and her uncle is apparently E.E. Mangindaan, the Deputy Chairperson of the MPR for 2014-2019. He was earlier a Lieutenant General in TNI, the Indonesian army. Furthermore, Yuda Firdaus Sugama, her husband, sometimes went for meetings with military figures on military bases. Clearly, some members of the military were involved in Global Language Center (the defunct language school), if meetings were being held on military bases.
It is widely believed that the utter lack of interest police have shown in pursuing the GLC case (despite the existence of 4500 victims of fraud) is because the Sugama family is politically well-connected and protected. The involvement of Indonesia’s military is particularly worrying. They are infamous for their involvement in everything from drug trafficking to illegal logging. Off-the-books scams such as GLC is exactly the sort of thing which has earned them such a black reputation in human rights and anti-corruption circles. Anyway, we have included photos of the Sugamas below. Stay away from any business which has these people involved. After all, the Sugamas are now fugitives who have vacated both their family homes. Hardly the sort of people you would want to get involved with.