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Syahrul orders ministry officials to find money for wife and son, court hears

Jakarta Globe - April 29, 2024

Teguh Adi Prasetyo, Muhammad Aulia, Jakarta – Witnesses in the corruption trial of former Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo testified on Monday regarding how he had instructed subordinates to obtain funds for his family while in office.

Syahrul allegedly used these funds to pay for car installments for his son, purchase perfumes for his wife, and cover other personal expenses, according to the witnesses, who are former subordinates of his.

During cross-examination at the Central Jakarta District Court, a witness recounted how Syahrul's personal assistant approached him to request payments for a Toyota Alphard purchased under the defendant's son's name, Kemal Redindo.

Abdul Hafidh, former head of the Agriculture Ministry's procurement office, testified that he was instructed to secure funds and cover 10 installments of the car, amounting to Rp 45 million ($2,772) per month.

He clarified that the Toyota Alphard was not intended for the Agriculture Ministry's operational use.

One of the judges asked, "Who used the car?" Abdul replied, "The minister's son, Redindo."

The judge further inquired about the source of the funds for the minister's personal expenses.

"We collected funds from third parties – vendors who won contracts from the ministry," the witness explained.

In another instance, Syahrul allegedly requested funds to organize a party for his grandson's circumcision ritual, Abdul said.

A second witness testified that he was tasked with providing Syahrul's wife, Ayu Sri Harahap, with Rp 30 million in cash per month since 2020.

"The initial amount was Rp 15 million a month, then it increased to Rp 25 million, and the last time I remember we provided Rp 30 million," said Muhammad Yunus, a former staffer at the ministry's general affairs division.

Similar to the previous witness, Yunus mentioned that the funds were sourced from third parties.

"Did you provide the funds every month as requested while you were working there?" Presiding Judge Rianto Adam Pontoh asked.

"Yes, Your Honor. Every month," Yunus confirmed.

Yunus also said he had to procure funds to pay for eyeglasses and perfumes for both Syahrul and his wife.

"How much did they cost?" the judge asked.

"For the perfumes, it was usually around Rp 5 million per purchase," Yunus replied.

Additionally, staff at the general affairs division were instructed to procure cash for the daily needs at Syahrul's official residence in Jakarta.

"Around Rp 3 million had to be available every day to meet the minister's official residence's daily needs," Yunus told the court.

The funds were used for food deliveries and laundry services, among other expenses, he added.

Syahrul was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) last October on charges of extortion and corruption after ignoring two summonses for interrogation.

The arrest reportedly occurred when he was about to make a TV appearance for an exclusive interview about his case and a week after he tendered his resignation to President Joko Widodo.

Two other ministry officials have been named suspects in the case, including Secretary-General Kasdi Subagyono and Director of Agricultural Machineries and Equipment Muhammad Hatta.

Syahrul, a politician with the National Democratic Party (Nasdem), has denied any wrongdoing and he wouldn't let the investigation against him go without a fight.

He has reported then-KPK Chairman Firli Bahuri for alleged extortion during the initial phase of the investigation, prompting the police to conduct a separate criminal investigation and leading Firli to resign from the commission amid the heated drama of the high-profile corruption case.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/syahrul-orders-ministry-officials-to-find-money-for-wife-and-son-court-hear