February 21, 2014 (JUBA) - Authorities in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state are said to have appointed Clement Manyuat, a local administrative officer, as the acting Secretary General of the state administration.
- The map of Northern Bahr el Ghazal in red.
Multiple sources and lawmakers told Sudan Tribune that Manyuat would stand in for Garang Kuot Kuot, the suspended Secretary General now under investigation for alleged involvement in the disappearance of 9.8 million South Sudanese pound (SSP).
But while many officials claimed millions of public funds were lost in syndicated activities in which Kuot allegedly played a role, others alleged the central ministry of finance had documents showing Governor Paul Malong Awan took 4 million SSP while in Juba, as state contribution in support of military operations in Jonglei state.
Awan has, however, denied these allegations and vowed to deal with officials who claimed he pocketed public funds in the name of supporting the military activities.
Also suspended was Sabrino Majok Majok, previously the state Director General for administration and finance in the state finance ministry. Some reports claimed that those implicated had attempted to escape from the state, prompting their arrest before investigations were complete.
An order issued on 17 February also named Barnaba Nyok, a local administrative officer as acting Director General for administration and finance in the state ministry of finance.
A cabinet minister claimed government agents foiled a plan by the two officials to escape investigation, saying the two first thought of running into the United Nations camp in the area.
“The government has the information that they wanted to run away from the state. They want to escape the investigation. They attempted going into UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South Sudan] on the ground that they are holding Canadian passports so that they cannot be held to account or answer questions relating to what they are suspected to have played a role,” the minister told Sudan Tribune Friday.
They wanted to go on the basis of being foreign nationals, if they had managed to get to UNMISS. Unfortunately the security forces got the information and they were stopped, he added.
Although the minister did not elaborate much, he still insisted the state government was capable of trying anybody regardless of their status or nationality, should they commit any crime punishable under the country’s existing laws.
“What they did not know is that the government has laws that can hold anybody to account for whatever crime they have committed in South Sudan, regardless of their status except diplomats, because they are protected by diplomatic immunity,” stressed the minister.
Sudan Tribune was unable to independently verify allegations that the two officials, now in detention in a building previously used as a medical facility for state police, had attempted to flee.
A state legislator, however, said he heard his colleagues in the house discussing the allegations labeled against two state officials.
“I did not see them myself, but I have heard people, including some members of parliament discussing these allegations that Garang Kuot and Sabrino Majok Majok attempted to run away. I think this could be the reason they were detained, otherwise there is no plausible reason to justify their detention before the investigation committee completes it work,” said the lawmaker who preferred anonymity.
“There must have been something which the security may have heard about them or their activities. There is no smoke without fire,” he added.