The former agriculture minister of Indonesia was arrested on Thursday on charges of bribery, corruption, abuse of authority, and fraud in connection with contracts with independent contractors.
Syahrul Yasin Limpo, the former minister of agriculture who resigned last week to concentrate on the upcoming legal actions against him, was formally declared a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, on Wednesday.
Late on Thursday, video appeared to show Limpo entering the commission’s office while restrained and donning a black leather jacket, a black cap, and a mask. When journalists questioned him, he remained silent.
The Charge on Limpo–
Limpo is accused of taking around 13.9 billion rupiah ($885,000) in bribes through his subordinates Kasdi Subagyono and Muhammad Hatta, who were also identified as suspects, according to KPK’s deputy chairman, Johanis Tanak, who spoke at a news conference late on Wednesday.
The KPK is still stepping up an investigation into alleged corruption at his ministry, Tanak said, the sum of state money that the three individuals are accused of stealing may rise. Tanak claimed that Limpo reportedly gave Subagyono and Hatta orders to compel employees of his ministry to provide him between $4,000 and $10,000 in exchange for promotions or involvement in ministry procurement projects. According to reports, the funds came from the ministry’s budget.
Additionally, he said that Limpo accepted payments from business owners who won contracts with the Ministry of Agriculture. The funds were allegedly used to cover his credit card debt and to buy an Alphard automobile, according to Tanak.
Limpo’s official apartment was searched by KPK agents earlier this month when he was on a business trip to Italy and Spain. According to Ali Fikri, a KPK spokeswoman, during the search they found a dozen firearms and money totaling over 30 billion rupiah ($1.9 million) in various currencies.
Febri Diansyah, Limpo’s attorney, voiced his disappointment that his client was forcibly detained by the KPK at his house late at night after he had told the commission that Limpo would visit the KPK on Friday for questioning.
Limpo said he was out visiting his parents in the region of South Sulawesi when he failed to show up for his scheduled KPK interview on Wednesday. He arrived back in Jakarta late on Wednesday.
According to Diansyah, Limpo does not dispute the accusations made against him, he would assist the KPK investigation, and he does not pose a flight risk. There is no sign that Syahrul Yasin Limpo would flee from Indonesia or obliterate evidence, so I guarantee that he won’t, Diansyah added. “Let’s see how this case is handled fairly,” the speaker said.
Effect on Government of Indonesia-
Former South Sulawesi governor Limpo is the second Nasdem Party official recently charged with a crime. Former communication minister Johnny G. Plate is facing charges of $533 million in bribery in the purchase of machinery for a 4G communications project.
The Nasdem Party, along with seven other parties, is a member of the coalition that controls the government, but in November of last year, it nominated well-liked opposition figure Anies Baswedan for president in 2024. President Joko Widodo described the party as a “outsider” in his coalition as a result.
The cases filled against Plate and Limpo are likely to hurt Nasdem’s chances in the elections set for February 2024, including its choice of Baswedan, a former governor of Jakarta, for president.
Limpo’s formal conviction might further damage Indonesia’s President, Joko Widodo’s reputation as a credible opponent of corruption. This is the fifth member of Widodo’s Cabinet currently, facing trial, throwing doubt on his efforts to clean up the government as he searches for a successor to run the government when his term ends in 2024. Four other members of Widodo’s Cabinet have already received prison sentences in corruption cases.
Widodo ran for office in part on a promise to lead a clean government in a position where Indonesia was placed 110th out of 180 countries in terms of Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index.