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South Sudan’s anti-corruption body running short of cash


February 4, 2013 (JUBA) - Austerity measures have left South Sudan’s Anti-Corruption Commission (SSACC) short of money and having to cut back its activities investigating graft in the young nation.

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A man from South Sudan displays new currency notes outside the Central Bank of South Sudan in Juba on 18 July 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

The commission’s chairperson, John Gatwech, told Sudan Tribune this week that his organisation is lobbying South Sudan’s cabinet and national legislative assembly to supplement their budget, which was last year cut by almost 40%, falling from SSP 18,476,317 to SSP 11,146,906.

To cope with the dramatic decrease, the commission has stopped recruiting any new staff to add to its 126 employees, which are spread across South Sudan’s 10 states.

Some trips outside South Sudan by members of staff have also been shelved. Austerity measures across the South Sudanese government were triggered when the country stopped exporting oil a year ago due to a transit fee dispute with Khartoum, resulting in the government loosing 98% of its income.

South Sudan claims that Sudan confiscated $815 million worth of its crude oil and the stand-off has still not been resolved, with Khartoum demanding that border security issues be addressed first.

The austerity measures have “affected most of our work and activities seriously. It has reduced most of our plans,” Gatwech said.

Official reports of corruption received by the commission fell from 150 in 2011 to only 32 in 2012 - a 79% drop.

The chairperson said that the decrease was largely due to increased public awareness about what constitutes the evidence and facts needed to make an allegation against an official.

Despite the decrease in new alleged cases, Gatwech warned that the institution’s fight against corruption is “likely to be affected by budget constraints”.

The official did not say whether his institution would consider appealing for funds from international institutions and donors, but said it would be beneficial if the commission receives extra funds immediately so that it can carry out important functions, including public awareness and education.

The chairperson of the SSACC was elevated to the status of a minister before he was appointed. Gatwech was appointed in November 2011, replacing Pauline Riak, with the head of the human rights commission also promoted to the cabinet at the same time. These elevations have made changes in personal emoluments, especially in benefits and privileges, but not in the policy programs of institutions.

However, Gatwech insists that there have been major improvements since he took office, including making all official post holders declare their assets.

During his tenure as head of the commission, the chairperson says that $60 million was recovered by officials anonymously returning stolen funds. The SSACC has now established offices in every state, he said.

Gatwech says he has investigated five high profile cases of corruption and transferred them to the ministry of justice, which is responsible for prosecuting suspects.

Since 2005, when former rebels the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) formed a government in South Sudan as part of a peace deal, no official has been prosecuted for corruption despite graft being widespread.

South Sudan gained independence in 2011 but in June 2012 the young nation was rocked when a leaked letter from president Salva Kiir to 75 top officials asked them to return $4 billion in missing government funds. Kiir set up a bank in Nairobi, Kenya for money to be anonymously returned.

The highest profile corruption case in South Sudan ended in March 2012 when a court in Juba acquitted the SPLM’s secretary-general Pagan Amum Okiech, of receiving a $30 million corrupt payment in 2006.

The country’s former minister of finance, Arthur Akuien Chol, had alleged that he had received orders from “above” to transfer the public money to Amum’s account.

But Gatwech was keen to emphasise the progress made since he came to office, including the return of some funds which had gone missing in Lakes state.

An audit of the commission’s work covering the period of 2006 and 2007 found that the institution had overspent, but this has since been addressed according to the government.

Gatwech told Sudan Tribune that the SSACC’s budget in 2006 was SSP 168,045, with this increasing to SSP 2,300,000 in 2007.


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  • 8 February 2013 03:33, by OurLand

    After South Sudan’s leaders stole $ of oil revenue, the country is short of cash and therefore austerity measures are put in place. And why not cut the budget of the South Sudan’s Anti-Corruption Commission? After all, only $400 per South Sudanese citizen is stolen! $400 from you, $400 from each of your wifes and $400 for each of your children. Forget cattle raiding! Steal oil!

    repondre message

    • 8 February 2013 04:20, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

      look here our country corruption is very epidemic my Dear our south sudanese pound is dying intially last month in 2012? two ministries in national level were received their salaries inform of American money $Ds. Corrupist in new nation just put south sudanese currency in box at their houses

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    • 8 February 2013 04:23, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

      look here our country corruption is very epidemic my Dear our south sudanese pound is dying intially last month in 2012? two ministries in national level were received their salaries inform of American money $Ds. Corrupist in new nation just put south sudanese currency in box at their houses

      repondre message

    • 8 February 2013 07:15, by Paul Chadrack

      There is no need for keeping this corrupt and toothless entity call anti-corruption commisson.instead of fighting the disease, they themselves need treatment.

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      • 8 February 2013 11:39, by Monydit

        In the past I was blaming President Kiir for shutting down the oil but I now feels happy with the shutdown because there were nowhere we could let them (corrupt officialls ) feels the heat like any South Sudanese citizen, I wish the shutdown continues until they know how to manage little they have.

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    • 8 February 2013 07:57, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      This commission even never bear any fruit,no any officials has been arrested by this commission the presnt budget is enough for them or else is a corruption also by the commission.

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  • 8 February 2013 03:52, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    John Gatwech. Anti-Corruption has no previcy buget in any country but sucking in country buget. One thing guys, Anti-corruption in south sudan is doing nothing, their cases of corruption are not clear all over the years ago. Accept 2012 in Lakes State where they got more than 14,000,000.00 millions SSP missing in the government account as Pension.

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    • 8 February 2013 04:51, by Nuer Empire

      Anti corruption is not needed by big elephant to exist any more.They should do the same thing (torture,kidnapping,beating....)if you don’t pull out your noses frrom their corruption scandal.You will be victimized like Deng Athuai!! We stand firm with corruption and Human right commissions.
      The Nuer Empire

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      • 8 February 2013 05:07, by Lotodo Awino Odug

        I don’t know which planet this man spent most of his days from? for the last three month,I had sold one of my bull and uses the money in buying stationeriesfor my three offices.the colapse is being felt as far as Ayod.i came a week ago from Ayod and the people are happy about the disputed ares,oil and the solution to this stagnation.

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  • 8 February 2013 06:16, by Kenyang

    This organization like other institutions in South Sudan is absolutely useless and instead siphoning little left after shut down of oil. How many names and criminals their work placed behind bare so far??????? I believe the commission is genuinely stealing and crediting itself from natural reduction of corruption brought about by austerity measures and lack of billions of dollars to be looted.

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  • 8 February 2013 07:13, by Mapuor

    Anti corruption commission haaaa,what are the functions of this commission? Kiir be pragmatic,abolish the following institutions: 1.Anti corruption commission 2.Peace and reconciliation commission 3. RRC commission 4.ministry of wild life and reduce the Police,prisons and fire brigade by half.Those institutions do not function completely.Haaaaa.

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    • 8 February 2013 10:30, by King of Nyamlel

      This anti-corruption has been doing nothing and nothing.i wish it shouldn’t work anymore. Damned this SSACC!

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  • 8 February 2013 07:16, by 4Justice

    You are absolutely spoton, this agency is beyond useless, we don’t even know what they are doing, how far they are with the recovery of $4 billion dollars, a complete waste of tax payer money. Why don’t they get a skinny man to chair that agency, it’s not easy to feed a big guy like Gatwech.

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    • 8 February 2013 09:31, by EES Kingmaker

      Anti-corruption is a barely surviving institution. It can only earn South Sudanese respect when it confornts big fish that stash cash from RSS treasury. Gatwech is unlikely to do anything unless there is a strong political will that makes Govt. to rise to that challenge. Wherever you go, corruption is normal in offices. How do we meaningfully develop this nation in that dispirited, cowardice act?

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    • 8 February 2013 09:54, by EES Kingmaker

      Hahahaha,skinny man instead of a big guy! Can a skinny man guarantee some moral uprightness for effective running of this instituiton(SSACC) with much-needed honesty, integrity and zeal to turn a new page?

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  • 8 February 2013 09:36, by Winnie

    Eeh.. just wondering what they have been doing all this while cos am not seeing any outcome of the corruption cases that have been tabled in-front of them since they were sworn-in. Sorry guys but our Public funds are also under austerity measure. First get back the stolen money that the former and the new government officials swindled... then ASK for more funds.

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  • 8 February 2013 09:38, by Moral Agent

    this entity called anti-corruption let looters walk through people of south mind with their dirty feet. because is one of the tools use to let a bunch of idoits with no responsibiliy get a way ,Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today in south

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    • 8 February 2013 10:02, by EES Kingmaker

      Moral Agent,
      I agree. Corruption is a result of dysfunctional democracy and a tool used by thoughtless and idiotic leaders to walk freely through national coffers everywhere, including South Sudan.

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  • 8 February 2013 11:13, by wang

    This is World Bank, United Nation and donation countries duty to funds South Sudan’s anti-corruption in a first place, as they are doing it to other developing countries’ anti-corruptions. Foreign minister should raise our case to UN, European Union (EU), USA and World Bank. We desperately still need South Sudan’s anti-corruption body to actively functioning in the South. Those thieves are still e

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  • 8 February 2013 11:14, by wang

    We desperately still need South Sudan’s anti-corruption body to actively functioning in the South. Those thieves are still exist in South and we cannot be eliminated them without somebody that monitoring their movements.

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    • 8 February 2013 13:59, by Nuer Empire

      It would sound good if they revealed any corrupted elephant in the media.CComplaining of no fund is another means of corruption! Who are monitoring them by the way?
      The Nuer Empire

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  • 8 February 2013 13:41, by 4Justice

    The V8 Mania

    The IMF’s Resident Representative to South Sudan, Mr. Joseph Karangwa has advised South Sudanese authorities that for now as a temporary response to the ongoing financial difficulty in the country, the government should reduce luxurious expenditure and manage resources by spending on key priorities like Agriculture and Health.


    repondre message

    • 8 February 2013 16:13, by Dr. Silent

      Well and good but what I I would like to tell you is this, You replies. Stop making annoy all the time,
      Talk without work is bad, you better to work to the work 1st then to talk more.

      repondre message

    • 8 February 2013 16:16, by Dr. Silent

      Well and good but what I would like to tell you is this, You replies. Stop making annoy all the time,
      Talk without work is bad, you better to do the work 1st then to talk more.

      repondre message

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