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Ex-Indonesian agriculture minister sentenced to 10 years for corruption

The case has tarnished President Joko Widodo's credibility in fighting corruption

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Indonesia's anti-graft court sentenced a former agriculture minister to 10 years in prison Thursday. Image: Shutterstock

AP Jakarta

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Indonesia's anti-graft court sentenced a former agriculture minister to 10 years in prison Thursday after finding him guilty of corruption-related extortion, abuse of power and bribery involving ministry contracts with private vendors.
The case has tarnished President Joko Widodo's credibility in fighting corruption. Five other members of Widodo's Cabinet have been sentenced to prison terms in corruption cases, casting a shadow over his efforts to clean up government while his term will end in October.
The court in the capital, Jakarta, ruled that the former Cabinet minister, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, was guilty of abusing his power by enriching himself and other officials. It also ordered him to pay a 300 million rupiah ($18,500) fine, and said he would be subject to another four months' imprisonment if he fails to pay.
The defendant has legally and convincingly been proven guilty of corruption, presiding Judge Rianto Adam Pontoh said. He wasn't a good example as a public official, what he has done is counter the government's efforts to fight corruption and enriched himself by corruption."

Limpo had been arrested last October by the Corruption Eradication Commission, known as the KPK. He has denied wrongdoing.
Several ministry officials testified during the trial that secretariats, directorates general and agencies within the ministry was required to give up 20 per cent of their budgets to Limpo, as though they were indebted to him, and he threated their jobs if they rejected his demands. Vendors and suppliers were also asked to set aside money to fulfill the then-minister's demands, the trial revealed.
Limpo used the money on luxurious cars, gifts and apartments, charter private jets, family parties and gatherings, and for religious observances and pilgrimages. Limpo also used the bribes to disburse humanitarian aid for disaster victims and to his Nasdem political party.
Prosecutors, who sought 12 years imprisonment for Limpo, said the politician accepted a total of 44.7 billion rupiah ($2.7 million) between January 2020 and October 2023.
In their indictment, prosecutors accused Limpo of ordering his two subordinates, Kasdi Subagyono and Muhammad Hatta, to collect the illicit money. They were each sentenced to four years in prison in separate cases.
During the trial, Limpo said he was the victim of political persecution and felt that he had been slandered by his subordinates in his ministry who fears of being replaced or removed from their position.
I never received any information about their objection to any of my orders, Limpo said, If they think it's wrong, they should consult and discuss with me first.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jul 11 2024 | 2:22 PM IST

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