Indonesia ex-agriculture minister named as graft suspect

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s anti-graft agency (KPK) has named the country’s former agriculture minister as a suspect in a graft case, its deputy chief said, becoming the sixth member of President Joko Widodo’s cabinet to face corruption allegations.

Syahrul Yasin Limpo, who resigned last week after KPK raids on his multiple houses and ministry, said via his lawyer that he will cooperate with the investigation.

KPK named Limpo as a suspect for allegedly instructing two colleagues to force officials to pay him at most $10,000 in exchange for positions or participation in procurement projects at the ministry.

The money allegedly came from the ministry’s marked up budget and further investigation against Limpo is ongoing, deputy KPK chief Johanis Tanak said late on Wednesday.

Limpo and his colleagues allegedly received about 14 billion rupiah ($892,288), Johanis said, adding some of the money was allegedly used to pay for Limpo’s luxury car and credit card bills.

The KPK said raids on Limpo’s houses and ministry had found billions of rupiah in cash.

Indonesia’s president, commonly known as Jokowi, appointed an acting agriculture minister last week.

Limpo is the sixth minister in Jokowi’s cabinet to face corruption allegations. Earlier this year, authorities arrested the then communications minister on corruption charges. Jokowi’s social affairs and fisheries ministers were jailed in 2021.

($1 = 15,690.0000 rupiah)

(Reporting by Ananda Teresia and Stanley Widianto; Editing by Michael Perry)