Amartha founder and chief executive, Andi Taufan Garuda Putra, is introduced to the public at the State Palace in Jakarta in November. (SP Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

Another One of Jokowi's Millennial Advisors Resigns Over Conflict of Interest


APRIL 24, 2020

Jakarta. Another one of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's millennial advisors has resigned after a series of letters he wrote to subdistrict officials demanding their support for a program his company took part in were leaked to the public.

Andi Taufan Garuda Putra, a 32-year-old entrepreneur who founded the peer-to-peer fintech lender Amartha, wrote an open letter on Friday to let the public know he had decided to step down from his position as a special staff of the president.

Andi said President Jokowi had accepted his resignation.

"I made the decision to resign so I can fully commit myself to the economic empowerment of small and medium enterprises," the letter read.

Andi said he was grateful for all lessons that he had learned while working for the president and apologized for all the mistakes he had made.

"I've learned many valuable lessons. I was bound to make mistakes. For that, I apologize. I will do my best to become a better person," he said.

Andi's resignation came only days after Belva Devara, another one of Jokowi's seven millennial advisors who were appointed with much fanfare in November, also resigned over a conflict of interest scandal.

Belva came under fire after his online education app Ruangguru was selected as a training partner for the government's pre-employment card program.

Meanwhile, Andi was found to have written unauthorized letters to subdistrict heads asking for their support for the Village, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Ministry's "Village Volunteers Fight Against Covid-19" program.

The program finds volunteers to educate people in villages about the coronavirus pandemic.

The problem was that Andi's company Amartha was involved in the program.

In the letter that he wrote to the subdistrict heads, Andi asked for support for his staff who would be "participating" in the program, including by collecting data on the availability of personal protective equipment at hospitals and other health facilities.

Many, including Indonesian Ombudsman commissioner Alvin Lie, saw the letter as an abuse of power.

Alvin pointed out the letters were printed on papers bearing the letterhead of the Cabinet Secretariat, a public office, despite the content being private in nature.

Abdul Fickar Hadjar, a lecturer in law at Trisakti University in Jakarta, has warned the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) about the potentials for corruption in the scandals involving Andi and Belva.

"Let's be realistic. These cases involved conflicts of interest, the root of all corruption. If the KPK is serious in protecting the government's Covid-19 mitigation budget, they should start by investigating these cases," Abdul said on Thursday.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung confirmed Andi's resignation on Friday.

He said the president appreciated Andi's commitment to economic empowerment for small businesses.

"Economic empowerment for small and medium enterprises has also been the president's focus," Pramono said.