Home | News    Thursday 7 May 2015

South Sudan army admits suspension of top military officers over financial scandal

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May 6, 2015 (JUBA) - The leadership of South Sudanese army has admitted suspension of two of its senior military officers at the ministry of defence and veterans affairs and downplayed negative impact if they were arrested.

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SPLA generals attend the 31st anniversary of the formation of the rebel force in Juba on May 16, 2014 (ST)

“There is no problem. I am fine. The issue you are talking about is an administrative matter and it will be handled through administrative procedures and processes in accordance with the guiding rules and regulations. People should not magnify it to cause panic and confusion,” one of the victims, major general John Lat, director for procurement at the ministry of defence and veteran affairs told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

The top level military officer who has since been placed on suspension denied he had been arrested and described his working relationship with the chief of general staff, Paul Malong Awan, as very good.

He and the under-secretary at the defence ministry, lieutenant general Bior Ajang Duot, were accused of corruption when they allegedly attempted to get unspecified amount of money from finance ministry over a dubious project.

He also refuted reports that he had avoided meeting the army’s chief after the documents found their way into the office of the chief of general staff, following signing of the documents by the duos.

Lat was previously head of military intelligence after returning to the military service following his appointment to civilian position as governor of Lakes state from 2005 to 2007 after the first post-civil war with neighbouring Sudan from which the new nation seceded in 2011.

He however assured that he had no misunderstanding with the chief of general staff, describing the matter over documents as clerical mistake.

“Those are unfounded rumours. We have been together with the chief of general staff until when the decision was made. He has been aware and got explanation. None of us had avoided him. Actually it was a clerical mistake,” explained general Lat without giving additional comments.

Several presidential aides and military sources as well as officials at the ministry of finance claimed that the government was going to lose up to 37 million South Sudanese pounds ($1 million) had the documents secured approval of the ministry of finance upon submission.

A source in the office of the first under-secretary of the ministry of finance confirmed that the request was made for 37 million South Sudanese pounds to purchase stationeries and other clerical associated items in the ministry of defence.

“When I first saw the documents I thought I misread the reasons for the request so I had to go over and over again before I reached out to another colleague whom we examined the documents four times. We wanted to be sure we were not missing anything."

"When we finished cross[checking] the documents and the reasons we got for such a huge amount of money was not satisfactory, we decided to contact the office of the under-secretary of the ministry of defence and it was confirmed,” said the source.

He said he thought there were security items which officials at the ministry of defence wanted to be covered as stationeries to avoid the leakage of security matters when documents go through checks and cross examinations in various departments in accordance with established rules and regulations governing public finances.

President Kiir has reportedly directed the two suspended senior military officials to remain in the country until investigations were carried out into the alleged attempt to steal the money.

(ST)

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  • 7 May 2015 02:46, by San Manyuon

    Is there no country budget produced annually? is the country cash just sit as a big lump sum on one account with no allocations to major sectors? is the ministry of finance mentioned in the article an inside the defense ministry or is it the country wide finance?. Does the finance ministry release payouts base on letters receive?

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    • 7 May 2015 08:44, by Ayuen deng

      37 Million ssp is good money to purchase food,medicine,Uniform and Boot and should been through Chief Malong to Kuol to council ministers for a approval not direct to ministry of Finance for Payment that is dirty shortcut to corruption.

      Thank you Chief Malong Awan and Honourable Koul for your Kinness ! !

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  • 7 May 2015 09:38, by WendeMajok

    Trust me, the information given here is a lie. The two officials were removed by orders of Malong Awan who accused Bior Ajang to have communicated to one of the G10 member. Bior Ajang has not been in support of how procurement of military equipments are done and that annoy Malong so bad because he love to pocket public funds with no shame. I am still inquiring why he also ordered Lat’s removal.

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  • 7 May 2015 11:56, by Mapuor

    SPLA is the most corrupt institution in the country and general Malong has every right to dismiss those thieves. Those thieves never fight a single battle during the war and were only brought up by their relatives like Daniel Awet Akot and late John Garang.Everything is sold at Bilpam;food,guns,ammos etc. at broad day light. Go ahead general Malong.SPLA Oyeeee

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  • 7 May 2015 22:29, by BM-21

    I hated the foolish comments, Dear,bro. If you are new in the SPLA ,you better keep silent . John Lat Zakaria is not brought up by Awet Akot and gen. Bior Ajang was not brought by DR. Garang . They are brave officers of the SPLA . One question to you, who is not a corruptise in South Sudan ?
    Leave alone Gen. lat and bior.

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  • 7 May 2015 22:34, by BM-21

    Mapuor @ your father Paul Malong is the most corrupts in the republic of South Sudan . Look how many he have loot in Aweil since during when pipo were still in the bush,eg he own the market of Warawar in Aweil no body allow to make tax in z market only by Manut yel then to the pocket of Malong.

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