After we published the first of our updates on Jakarta TEFL fixture, Mariam Kartikatresni, one regular reader (who is mostly interested in stories on ILC) asked, “Who’s Mariam? What are her crimes?”
In a sense that’s a hard one to answer, because Mariam’s crimes/sins/trangressions are so numerous. Where should one start? I suppose we could have told her just to sort through scores of old posts with the Mariam Kartikatresni ‘tag’, but presumably she has better things to do with herself. Therefore, I thought I would try and encapsulate in a short, bullet-point format what some of this woman’s crimes against TBI were. This post will also explain why we think that it such a good thing that the Indonesian TEFL scene has been relieved of her services. I have adopted a chronological approach rather than starting with her more serious
- Mariam started her career at TBI as school manager of TBI Sudirman. She did not even have a TEFL certificate at the time. She got the job through nepotism. Her in-laws are on the board of USG.
- Mariam failed badly as the manager of TBI Sudirman and the school made large losses. Yet she got promoted from there to a management role at Head Office and on to TBI Director in no time. Her rise was achieved entirely through nepotism and never through merit or achievement.
- Mariam started hiring teachers illegally on VKU visas in 2007 at the recommendation of Ashley Platts, one of her cronies. 2 British nationals were arrested and then deported from Indonesia in 2007 from TBI Bogor due to her illegal antics.
- Managers such as Luke Preece and Jodi Shiek in Bandung were allowed to run TBI schools without even having university degrees. She allowed TBI Bandung to bribe Immigration officials in West Java to keep them in the role.
- In 2009 over Rp2 billion was embezzled from TBI Dago when Luke Preece was manager. He claimed not to have noticed anything amiss even though the financial manager bought a local radio station and two mansions on a salary of $300 a month. Mariam decided not to report the case to the police and the regained Rp 2 billion was never declared for tax. As a result of this scandal, Mariam gave a promotion to Luke Preece, the manager at the school at the centre of the scandal.
- From 2008-2009 Mariam refused to take action against Luke Preece, the Australian fraudster without a degree, when eight difference cases of rigged appointments and unfair dismissals were made to HR. It became known in Bandung that Mariam protected Luke whatever he did.
- In 2010 Mariam refused to taken action against Luke Preece when he appointed his best friend, Scott Martin, as head of TBI Riau despite the fact he had 1 years experience and a TEFL degree to his name, and the other candidate was a TEFL teacher with a degree and ten years’ experience.
- From 2007-2009 Mariam gave three promotions to Chris Needham, a truck driver from the Netherlands who falsified documents and data in order to gain his promotions. She had never checked the dodgy figures once in three years.
- In 2009 Mariam recommended Helmy Vramerryan as school manager of TBI Kelapa Gading despite the fact she had 6 separate sexual harassment complaints against him in TBI Semarang and he had been accused of embezzling Rp 75 million. He was a family member of one of her cronies.
- In 2010 Mariam ran a scam where she charged each franchise school Rp 25 million for ‘advertising costs’, when she had actually got the movie ads free. She deliberately engaged in fraud against the TBI franchise managers.
- In 2010 the franchise managers refused to deal with Mariam anymore due to her history of lies and deceit. She pushed her crony and accomplice, Luke Preece, into the role of Franchise Manager instead. The man had no degree or any other management credentials.
- From 2008-2010 Mariam protected Binsar Simorangkir at TBI Bekasi when he was not paying salaries to expat staff at the school. Teachers contacted Head Office and emails were ignored. The official annual audit was not done at the school for 5 years in a row. People assume she was trying to avoid responsibility.
- Mariam was forced to stand down as TBI Director for several weeks due to ‘unethical behaviour’. She eventually used her connections on the board to be reinstated.
- In 2011 Mariam OKed a plan by Luke Preece to ‘solve’ TBI’s work visa woes by employing unqualified teachers illegally on VKU business visas. These were the same visas which had led to 2 British teachers being deported in 2007. She deliberately chose to break the law rather than raise teacher salaries and recruit people with English degrees.
- Mariam appointed her own coffee buddy as Academic Manager in 2011 despite the fact that this woman had no academic management experience.
- In 2012 TBI Semarang refused to pay franchise fees any more due to all the lies that Head Office had told them. Later that year, they went bankrupt.
- In 2012 Mariam was thrown out TBI Malang by her own joint-venture partners. They said that they were tired of TBI lies and deceit and refused to even speak to Mariam. Pak Reza tried to salvage the situation but TBI Malang rebranded as The Boston Insitiute and TBI had no school in Malang until August 2013.
- In 2012 she refused to investigate Luke Preece after he told multiple lies about a series of events relating to the manager of TBI Kuningan. Preece had lied that the manager had been fired due to rudeness to a customer but the manager had produced witness statements by everyone else there which supported his side of the story. Mariam refused to look at the witness statements or discuss the lies old by Luke Preece in TBI’s name.
- Mariam personally threatened me not to ask any more questions about Luke Preece’s past in Bandung, especially about rigged appointments and getting his enemies fired. She told me if she did she would press my franchise manager to fire me.
- Mariam lost her title of TBI Director again in 2013. She was then reinstated. At the end of 2014 she is said to have ‘resigned’, this time permanently. Her old partner in crime, Luke Preece, then removed recommendations from Mariam from his Linked-In account and announced himself Head of Operations.
In short, Mariam was a disgracefully unprofessional manager who lurched from crisis to crisis. She regularly engaged in nepotism and cronyism and felt that it was condoned by Indonesian culture. Yet if anyone else bent the rules, she would scream at them for being ‘unprofessional’ and ‘damaging the TBI brand’. She regularly conspired with the other dishonest people within the company and undermined and attacked anyone who achieved good results, seeing them as a threat to her own prestige. The archetypal narcissistic nightmare of a boss, she took TBI from having a good reputation to being one of the most scandal-tainted schools in Jakarta. TBI is lucky to be rid of her, but it is the other scoundrels and pseudo-managers who are still running the show.