September 6, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s Warrap State on Thursday said it supports measures taken by the National Legislative Assembly to ensure that institutions appear before the public accounts committee to explain how they have spent public funds allocated to their institutions during financial year.
Lino Daffallah, who represents Bongo minority group in the state’s parliament said that Warrap State supported the "commitment of the leadership of the National Assembly under Speaker James Wani Igga to ensuring that no unnecessary red tape will be accepted from public institutions particularly when it comes to submitting their accounts for public scrutiny."
Corruption and lack of transparency are major issues in the young nation.
"The summoning of the key public institutions to account how they spent [their funds] demonstrates the determination of the legislative arm of government to continue to live up to expectations”, Daffallah said on Wednesday.
Daffallah said that South Sudan’s presidency, as well as national and state assemblies had an important role to play in governance and providing accountability to the people they represent. Earlier this year President Salva Kiir wrote to 75 former and current officials asking them to account for over $4 billion in missing government funds.
“The legislature is a prominent component of our national endeavours. Apart from its law-making role, it serves as a watchdog, geared towards safeguarding the interest of the entire citizenry”, he said.
Scrutinising institutions through the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly was important to continue the "strides" South Sudan has made since independence last year, "a lot still needs to be done", he said.
"The credit goes to not only the leadership of the House, but also the people who elected us to the House. Also, it goes to the executive and, above all, the president of the Republic, whose mission stands on the pillars of accountability and transparency", he adds.
No South Sudanese official has ever been prosecuted for corruption since Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) came to power in 2005 as part of a landmark peace deal.
Garang Mackok, a law student at Juba University commended the house for calling institutions to account for money allocated to them in the annual budget, explaining that it was an alternative way of combating corruption and restoring public confidence in the government.
“To see our lawmakers commit themselves to the demands of the people by not only ventilating their grievances at the legislature and enacting laws to define public morality, but also ensuring that the people reap the benefits of their labour by ensuring that those tasked to utilise taxpayers money for development distance themselves from misappropriation, manifests the degree of commitment of our chosen representatives to fulfilling the needs and aspirations of the electorates”, Machok said.
The law student said that the Public Accounts Committee in the National Legislative Assembly has "the potential to control the menace of corruption and cultivate the culture of accountability and transparency among our public enterprises."
He added that the end result of which would help not only to inform the public about development ideas and proposals, but also convince citizens that the public agencies are interested in listening to their views and responding to their priorities and concerns.
“I therefore hope that the public institutions would pay heed to the cautions of the public account committee and cooperate with the National Assembly in the quest to make public institutions publicly accountable”, he adds.