"Suryadharma Ali has returned the mandate as religious affairs minister to the President," Minister/State secretary Sudi Silalahi said in a press conference following a meeting between the President and Suryadharma Ali (SDA) at the Bogor Presidential Palace.
The religious affairs minister has been named suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in connection with his alleged involvement in a corruption case related to hajj pilgrimage program.
Sudi said Suryadharma Ali met with the President that day to report his naming as a suspect by KPK.
He said Suryadharma Ali felt he was not guilty and reported that the performance of his ministry in the hajj pilgrimage service had been improving from year to year.
President Yudhoyono on the occasion said he hoped the case of SDA would not disrupt this years hajj pilgrimage service.
He also told SDA that the KPKs decision was not the end of the world and advised him to prepare well to deal with his legal case.
"We respect the principle of presumption of innocence," the President has said, according to Sudi.
SDA arrived at the palace at around 11.45am and met with the President who was accompanied by vice president Boediono, coordinating minister for peoples welfare Agung Laksono and Sudi Silalahi.
SDA would be the second minister to resign from the current cabinet after Andi Mallarangeng, the sports minister, in December, 2012, over alleged involvement in corruption.(*)