Chris Barrett and Karuni Rompies, Singapore/Jakarta – Seated on a bench at a badminton centre in Jakarta, two senior Indonesian officials are pictured in conversation.
On the left is Firli Bahuri, the head of Indonesia's much-vaunted Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK; on his right is Syahrul Yasin Limpo, until recently the country's agriculture minister.
The discussion appears innocuous.
In the six weeks since the photograph of their meeting emerged, however, it has come to embody the scourge of corruption in South-East Asia's largest economy and the seemingly never-ending battle against it.
Limpo has since been arrested for alleged abuse of power and fraud, accused of receiving bribes from government contractors and from ministry officials for promotions. If charged and convicted he would become the sixth minister during Indonesian President Joko Widodo's tenure to go down for graft offences.
The more surprising fact is that the anti-corruption chief himself has also been caught in the crosshairs.
According to Indonesia's Tempo magazine, former police general Bahuri was accused of demanding a pay-off of 50 billion rupiah ($4.9 million) from Limpo in exchange for shelving the case against him.
He has denied the claims of extortion and maintained the controversial meeting at the badminton courts in the Indonesian capital occurred in March 2022 before Limpo came under investigation.
But Jakarta police have zeroed in on him and on Wednesday evening Safri Simanjuntak, the director of special crimes investigations said: "The KPK chairman is named as a suspect in the alleged corruption case after finding enough evidence".
The scandal may have significant implications for confidence in Indonesia's capacity to root out corruption in government. Projecting an image of integrity is crucial as the country seeks to attract greater foreign investment and fulfil the ambition of the outgoing Widodo, known as Jokowi, for it to become the world's fourth-largest economy by 2045.
It was only a fortnight ago that former communications minister Johnny Plate was jailed for 15 years for pocketing kickbacks connected to the building of telecom towers. He became the fifth Widodo-era minister to be imprisoned for corruption-related crimes.
The prosecutions have come as Indonesia has slipped to equal 110th out of 180 nations listed on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index.
It also comes just days after 2024 presidential election candidate Ganjar Pranowo gave the Widodo presidency a law enforcement score of five out of 10.
"The declaration of Firli Bahuri as suspect is good news for the fight against corruption because it is very inappropriate and dangerous when someone who is allegedly accused of committing corruption is holding a position as KPK chief," said Zanur Rohman, a researcher at the Centre for Anti-Corruption Studies at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta.
"But besides the good news, there is also bad news. This case once again shows how problematic the law enforcement sector and corruption fighting in Indonesia is."
Before his ascent to the top job at the KPK was signed off by the government, Bahuri had been found to have committed a series of ethical violations including on two occasions meeting with corruption investigation witnesses. As chairman, he had in 2020 also received a slap on the wrist for using a private company's helicopter for personal travel, conduct which displayed a "hedonistic lifestyle" in breach of agency rules.
The government has previously been criticised for weakening Indonesia's anti-corruption body with a high-profile law revision in 2019 that eroded its independence and limiting its investigative scope.
Rohman said Bahuri should be suspended from his post by presidential decree pending an investigation and the autonomy of the KPK must be restored.
"This must become the turning point for KPK to revolutionise itself so that it will once again become an institution of integrity and trustworthiness. Without it, the public will have difficulty trusting the KPK."