INDONESIA: Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture has been plunged into uncertainty as Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo (SYL) has gone missing amidst allegations of corruption within the ministry.
The situation has raised concerns at the highest levels of government, with officials scrambling to locate the minister.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Harvick Hasnul Qolbi, has revealed that they have lost contact with Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo and are unaware of his whereabouts at this time. The last known communication from Syahrul was during a working visit to Spain.
“Up to this day, we continue to search for the Minister because, until this moment, we have had no information regarding his whereabouts,” stated Harvick at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday (3 Oct).
Harvick clarified that Syahrul had undertaken a working visit to Spain and Italy at the end of September. Several high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Agriculture had accompanied him on this trip.
However, upon returning, Syahrul separated from the delegation due to the dispersal of their flight tickets.
Harvick emphasized that Syahrul’s disappearance was not related to any allegations of corruption within the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), expressing hope that his whereabouts would be known soon.
Despite Syahrul’s absence, the Ministry of Agriculture has not yet reported his disappearance to the relevant authorities.
Harvick believes that government agencies responsible for such cases are actively searching for the Minister.
Indonesian anti-graft agency declares Minister Syahrul as suspect in corruption case
The KPK had reportedly declared Syahrul as a suspect in a corruption case after conducting several investigations.
Asep Guntur Rahayu, the Acting Deputy of Enforcement and Execution at the KPK, previously stated that they were examining three clusters of alleged corruption within the Ministry of Agriculture.
Furthermore, the Director-General of Immigration at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Silmy Karim, has confirmed that Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo has not entered Indonesia as scheduled on Sunday (1 Oct).
Silmy explained that Syahrul had left Soekarno-Hatta Airport on Sunda (24 Sep), following his trip to Rome, Italy, via Qatar Airways. However, there is no record of his arrival in the immigration system.
Silmy indicated that his hands were tied in the matter, as Syahrul’s status had not been declared as a wanted person (DPO) by the KPK.
He stated, “I have not received any communication from the KPK regarding requests or decisions related to the investigative process. I am restricting myself in accordance with our functional duties because there are authorities at the KPK.”
Contradicting these reports, the Treasurer General of the National Democratic Party (Nasdem), Ahmad Sahroni, denied that Syahrul Yasin Limpo, an elite member of Nasdem, had gone missing.
Sahroni explained that Syahrul’s return from Europe had been postponed due to a health issue concerning his prostate, for which he was receiving medical treatment.
However, Sahroni stated that he did not have information about Syahrul’s current location as he was not in touch with him.
In a recent development, Syahrul has been able to reestablish communication with Nasdem party officials in Jakarta.
Surya Paloh, the Chairman of Nasdem’s Central Executive Board, has ordered Syahrul to return to Indonesia promptly after completing his medical treatment.
Sahroni stated, “On Thursday (5 Oct), Minister Syahrul will return to Indonesia as per the Chairman’s instructions.” He also mentioned that SYL was instructed to meet with Surya Paloh upon his arrival.
Prior to losing contact, Syahrul Yasin Limpo had reportedly been designated as a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
KPK investigators had conducted searches at his official residence on Widya Chandra Street, South Jakarta, where they claimed to have found documents and electronic evidence related to corruption allegations within the Ministry of Agriculture.
Additionally, investigators discovered approximately IDR 30 billion (approximately US$1,918,791) in cash and 12 firearms at the residence.
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