September 12, 2016 (JUBA) - A South Sudanese presidential aide denounced on Monday an investigative report accusing President Salva Kiir of having condoned corruption, describing it as “rubbish and “nonsense".
- South Sudan President Salva Kiir (C) poses for a picture after the government swearing in with his first deputy Riek Machar (R) and second deputy James Wani on 29 April 2016 (Photo Moses Lomayat)
“That is a complete nonsense. Don’t ask me again, it is rubbish”, Tor Deng Mawien, presidential advisor on decentralization and intergovernmental linkage angrily told Sudan Tribune on Monday.
Mawien was reacting to an investigative report by The Sentry which released a report of findings of a groundbreaking two-year investigation into the networks of South Sudan’s senior officials and their international facilitators.
The initiative co-founded by John Prendergast and George Clooney, seeks to disrupt and dismantle the networks of military officers, government officials, businessmen, arms dealers, bankers, and other enablers who allegedly benefit financially and political conflicts in the country.
According to the 65-page report obtained by the Sudan Tribune on Monday, the Sentry used experienced investigators who researched thousands of legal records, traveled to multiple locations to gather evidence and interviewed hundreds of experts and eyewitnesses.
It also took public images using Google Earth Pro to examine some of the properties in the report such as President Kiir and Riek Machar’s residences. The text established that the country’s top officials have ’managed to accumulate fortunes despite modest government salaries.’
Some top officials and their families own stakes in a broad array of companies, whereas others receive large payments from corporations doing business in the country. The Sentry found that South Sudan’s top officials have benefited both financially and politically from the war.
The report specifically highlighted President Kiir, Riek Machar, Chief of Staff Gen. Paul Malong Awan, and former Chief of Staff Gen. James Hoth Mai. It also mentioned General Gabriel Jok Riak, and General Reuben Malek Riak as among the officers identified to have benefited from corrupt practices.
The report, however, did not mention some former government officials owning expensive properties.
The report entitled "War crimes should not pay" was quickly criticized by government supporters, claiming it carried nothing significant but certainly a political tool to put pressure on president Salva Kiir to relinquish power.
They also accused investigators of being “agents of regime change” after purportedly decided to deliberately leave out former party and government officials turned opposition suspected to have amassed wealth and properties in America, Australia and in the neighbouring countries.
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