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Agriculture ministry corruption trial reveals vendor-funded luxury car for ex-minister's son

Jakarta Globe - April 29, 2024

Muhammad Aulia Rahman, Jakarta – During a corruption trial involving former minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo, a senior official at the Agriculture Ministry revealed that vendors associated with the ministry paid for the installment of a Toyota Alphard luxury minivan owned by Syahrul's son.

The ministry also used its budget to pay for Syahrul's personal expenses such as perfumes and glasses for his wife.

This information was disclosed by Abdul Hafidh during a trial on alleged corruption at the Ministry on Monday. Syahrul along with former Secretary-General of the ministry Kasdi Subagyono, and former director of agricultural machinery Muhammad Hatta are the defendants in this trial.

Abdul initially admitted to communicating with Syahrul's aide, Panji Harjanto, who requested funds for SYL.

"The money was for preparing monthly payments for the Alphard car loan," said Abdul during the Anti-Corruption Court (Tipikor) trial.

The Alphard car was not used for ministerial duties but for the personal needs of SYL's son, Kemal "Dindo" Redindo, in Makassar.

"Who is using it?" asked Chief Judge Rianto Adam Pontoh.

"The minister's son, Dindo," replied Abdul.

For the payment, Abdul then communicated with Gempur Aditya, former sub-coordinator of general office maintenance and procurement at the ministry. However, the ministry did not budget for the installments for Dindo's car.

"Where did the money come from if there was no budget?" asked the judge.

"Borrowed from a third party, a vendor from the ministry," replied Abdul.

The vendor who paid for the loan was working on a project at the ministry. The vendor agreed to the loan supported by receipt documents.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Yunus, a staff member of the Procurement General Bureau of the ministry, admitted to frequently receiving and paying bills for glasses and perfumes used by Syahrul and his wife Ayu Sri Harahap.

Furthermore, the judge asked Yunus about the budget for glasses. "Is there any budget for that?" the judge asked.

"There's none, Your Honor," Yunus replied. "So if there's no budget, where did the money come from?" the judge asked.

"We (the ministry) provided the money, Your Honor," said Yunus.

Additionally, the judge continued to press the witness to mention other things requested by the defendants. Yunus mentioned that another bill received was for perfume.

"How much does the perfume usually cost?" the judge asked.

"If it's perfume, it's around Rp 5 million," Yunus replied.

Syahrul Yasin Limpo is accused of extortion and receiving gratifications totaling Rp 44.5 billion ($3.2 million). Prosecutors claim that the defendants received money, which Syahrul used to cover personal and family needs. SYL appointed several trusted individuals to occupy positions within the Ministry of Agriculture to facilitate his duties.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/agriculture-ministry-corruption-trial-reveals-vendorfunded-luxury-car-for-exministers-so