Indonesian Agriculture Minister Resigns Amid Corruption Allegations
Jakarta, Indonesianpost.com – Agriculture Minister Syahrul Limpo, a member of the NasDem Party, announced his resignation on Thursday afternoon following allegations of corruption within his ministry.
Syahrul tendered his resignation letter to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo through State Secretary Pratikno. This decision came a day after he returned to Indonesia from a working trip to Italy and Spain.
In a statement during his resignation, Syahrul cited an ongoing legal case as the reason for stepping down. He expressed his willingness to face the case and hoped for a fair assessment. However, his request for an audience with the President on Thursday did not materialize due to scheduling conflicts, according to State Secretary Pratikno.
Syahrul’s return to Indonesia put an end to speculation about his whereabouts in Europe. He had reportedly extended his stay there after official visits to Italy and Spain.
Upon his arrival at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Banten on Wednesday evening, Syahrul headed to the NasDem party headquarters for a meeting with party leader Surya Paloh and other senior members, ostensibly to discuss his legal situation.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had previously conducted raids on Syahrul’s official residence, the ministry’s office in Jakarta, and his home in Makassar, South Sulawesi. These actions were part of an investigation into alleged corruption within the Agriculture Ministry. Notably, the KPK had not officially declared Syahrul as a suspect in the case, despite earlier media reports suggesting otherwise.
President Jokowi, when asked about Syahrul’s resignation plans, stated that he had not spoken to the minister and refused to comment on hypothetical questions regarding the resignation. Jokowi mentioned that he was informed of Syahrul’s return that morning but was unaware of any scheduled meeting with him.
This marks the second corruption case this year involving a NasDem minister. Johnny G. Plate, the former Communications and Information Minister of NasDem, was dismissed from the cabinet in May after being named a graft suspect by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). Johnny is currently on trial for his alleged involvement in a corruption-ridden 4G telephony project, where he is accused of receiving Rp 17.8 billion (US$1.1 million) in kickbacks.
Both the AGO and the KPK have been revisiting older corruption cases involving high-profile figures, such as alleged corruption at the Manpower Ministry in 2012. Muhaimin Iskandar, chair of the National Awakening Party (PKB), was questioned as a witness in the case last month, shortly after being announced as the running mate of Anies Baswedan, an opposition figurehead in the 2024 presidential race. Muhaimin served as the manpower minister from 2009 to 2014.
While some observers believe these investigations against cabinet ministers are politically motivated ahead of next year’s election, both the KPK and the AGO have denied these claims.