April 13, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has taken drastic actions, ordering for suspension and investigation of three top administrators after money went missing from his office over two weeks ago.
- South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir addresses a joint news conference with his Sudan’s counterpart Omer Al-Bashir in Juba April 12, 2013. (Reuters)
Hundreds of thousands of combined US dollars and South Sudanese pounds, sometimes reported in millions, was stolen from the office of the president in mysterious circumstances.
Last week South Sudan’s police told the press that they had already identified some of the suspects within the president’s office whom they had asked to voluntarily surrender to the police for further investigations. The police said that if they failed to turn themselves in they would be arrested by Friday last week, however, neither eventuality occurred.
An intercepted quarrel between the suspects over the division of the stolen money had revealed them, the police said, adding that one of the suspects told his partner in crime not to bother him over the division of money.
The suspect told his accomplice to go ahead and reveal theft if he wanted because, according to him, nobody was clean in the country and the stolen money did not belong to anyone, the police said.
The theft in the highest office of the land, which only came to the public notice a week later, caused a public outcry in a nation overwhelmed by corruption.
President Kiir, issued a presidential order on Friday forming an investigation committee under the chairmanship of the anti-corruption commission chairperson, Justice John Gatwech Lul, to investigate into the loss of money and report it back to him within 30 days.
In the order, the president directed the committee to investigate his office’s top administrators. These include the chief administrator, Mayen Wol Jok, executive director in the office of the president, Yel Lual Kur as well as the controller of accounts, Nhomout Agoth Cithiik.
Salva Kiir also directed the minister for the presidency, Emmanuel Lowilla, to immediately suspend the suspects involved and assign new people to act in their positions.
The president’s order also revealed that the money was not only stolen once, but twice in the office of the president, on 15th March and 23rd March 2013, respectively, and that the committee in its terms of reference will also have to ascertain the exact amount stolen during the two events.
All the relevant documents in the office of the president will be audited by the investigation committee, the order added.
The committee, according to the terms of reference enumerated in the order, will among others, also investigate how the money was stolen from the president’s office “despite heavy security in and around” the area.
The committee will also investigate “why such an amount of money was kept in the office building and not in the bank.”
The president’s top administrators are ordered to appear before the committee for investigations whenever they are asked to report themselves to the committee.
The four-member committee is also directed to recommend any further legal actions to be taken against the culprits.