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Indonesian Minister of Agriculture resigns amid corruption investigation

Indonesia’s Agriculture Minister, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, resigned amid an ongoing corruption investigation against him, triggering speculation of a cabinet reshuffle.

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INDONESIA – The Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, met with President Joko Widodo at the State Palace in Jakarta on Thursday (5 Oct), to tender his resignation.

This decision comes amid an ongoing investigation by Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

“I came here this afternoon to request time with Mr. President, and I was given the opportunity by the State Secretary, Mr. Pratikno, to submit my proposal and resignation as a minister,” Syahrul Yasin Limpo stated after meeting with Pratikno.

The State Secretary, Pratikno. (Photo: KOMPAS.com)

State Secretary Pratikno confirmed that Syahrul Yasin Limpo had submitted his resignation as the Minister of Agriculture to President Joko Widodo through him.

“Mr. Syahrul has submitted a letter to the President, which contains his resignation as the Minister of Agriculture,” he stated.

Following this, the State Secretariat will await President Jokowi’s guidance. Pratikno revealed that there might be a presidential decision (Keppres) to confirm the resignation of the Minister.

“I will wait for the President’s guidance; the likelihood is that, since he has already resigned, a Presidential Decision on his termination will be issued,” he added. “And, of course, we will need to find someone to fulfill the role of Minister of Agriculture,” Pratikno continued.

Pratikno also hinted at the possibility of a cabinet reshuffle in the near future. “Yes, that’s the consequence (of a reshuffle),” Pratikno mentioned at the State Secretary’s Office on Thursday (5 Oct).

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is currently investigating three alleged corruption clusters within the Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan), implicating Syahrul Yasin Limpo.

These clusters involve allegations of extortion in office, gratification, and money laundering. KPK has also reported the naming of several suspects in the case of alleged corruption related to coercion within the Ministry of Agriculture. However, the anti-corruption agency has not yet disclosed their identities.

KPK investigators are known to have conducted searches at several locations, including the official residence of Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo and the Ministry of Agriculture’s offices last week to collect evidence.

During the search at Syahrul Yasin Limpo’s residence, KPK investigators found tens of billions of rupiahs in local and foreign currencies, along with the discovery of 12 firearms.

Meanwhile, at the time of the searches at his home and office, Minister Syahrul was reportedly abroad on a working visit to Italy and Spain, attending a World Food Programme event (FAO). Following this, he was reported missing in Spain after being last seen with Ministry of Agriculture officials.

Minister of Agriculture (Mentan) Syahrul Yasin Limpo met with the State Secretary (Mensesneg) Pratikno at the Presidential Palace Complex in Jakarta on Thursday (5 Oct), in the evening.

Amidst the news of his disappearance, Minister of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD revealed that Syahrul Yasin Limpo had been named a suspect.

On Wednesday (4 Oct), Syahrul Yasin Limpo arrived at Soekarno-Hatta Airport and immediately headed to the National Democratic Party’s Central Executive Board (DPP Nasdem) office in Central Jakarta.

Previously, the Chairman of the National Democratic Party, Surya Paloh, had reportedly contacted Syahrul Yasin Limpo, urging him to return to the country.

In explaining his resignation from the position of Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo cited ongoing legal proceedings.

He expressed his commitment to facing these legal processes seriously, stating, “The reason I am resigning is that there is a legal process I am currently facing, and I must be prepared to face it seriously.”

He also appealed to the public not to prejudge him. Syahrul emphasized that he was ready to confront the legal process involving him at the Corruption Eradication Commission.

“Even though I hope there won’t be any stigma or preconceived perceptions about me, let the legal process proceed properly, and I am ready to face it,” he affirmed.

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