March 16, 2014 (JUBA) – The Governor of South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal state has vowed to leave no stone unturned in the crackdown of high profile officials implicated in corruption-related practices.
- Northern Bahr el Ghazal governor Paul Malong Awan (paulmalongforgovernor)
Addressing lawmakers in the state assembly last week, Paul Malong Awan reportedly expressed strong desire and commitment to improve the state’s financial management system.
Governor Awan’s remarks came barely a month after state authorities exposed what seemed a syndicate of activities in which some of its officials misappropriated lots of public funds. While some of those implicated were dismissed, others have been thrown behind bars.
Garang Kuot Kuot, previously the secretary general for the state administration and Sabrino Majok Majok, the ex-director general for administration and finance at the state ministry of finance are some of the named officials implicated in the scandal.
“If there are people who know they have done anything, I tell you, the same teeth they are laughing with will be the same teeth they will close. I say, if there was any corruption, people will have to answer,” the governor reportedly told lawmakers.
“This is now the first time 2 million South Sudanese pounds are reported to me to have been left from the payment of the employees, which has never happened before, which mean there was a problem, isn’t it?” he questioned.
Awan, a former zonal commander during the civil war with Sudan, also wondered whether the suspected officials would be tried in a manner consistent with provisions of the law.
“I don’t think they will be judged and tried in a way that meet interest of the law, or way the way ordinary people wants it,” he reportedly said, amidst applause.
CALLS FOR CHANGES
During the session, the acting speaker, Majang Ngor Kuany, reportedly raised a complain to the governor, arguing that the recent changes in the state cabinet and some top level civil servant positions should have been extended to other institutions, citing the education ministry.
In response, however, Awan reportedly said, “What happened was not a reshuffle but a response to what happened. The real reshuffling will be done.”
It remains unclear when the governor would make new changes in his cabinet, although some officials close to him have indicated that such changes may take time to be effected.
“There is a general feeling for changes, but there are no signs from the governor that he would make changes any time soon. He appears comfortable with the faces that are there at the moment, though there are people who feel some faces in the cabinet should be relieved because they are suspected to be part of the scandal,” an official who preferred anonymity told Sudan Tribune, Sunday.
The official, a close ally of the state governor also described corruption “as one of the growing diseases eating and ruining the country and that the practice would need “another liberation struggle for development.”