September 13, 2016 (JUBA) – The official spokesperson of Riek Machar, former South Sudan’s First Vice President and leader of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), has commended the exposure report on corruption in the young country, which was released on Monday in Washington DC by the US-based ‘The Sentry’ organization which exposed corrupt leaders.
- South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar addresses a press conference in his private residence in Addis Ababa, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Photo AP/Mulugete Ayehe)
James Gatdet Dak said the report has “absolved” their leader, Machar, who has been known for not involving in the corruption in South Sudan, unlike President Salva Kiir whom he said the report has “buried deep” in the corruption along with all his family members, even “young teenagers.”
“The Sentry report is a commendable exposure. It has with documented evidence shown to the South Sudanese people and the whole world for the first time how corrupt President Salva Kiir and his family has been,” Dak told Sudan Tribune on Monday in response to the report.
Dak said the report did not find any evidence of corruption by Machar, in which the report only referred to a “rented” house in Nairobi, Kenya, and a “guest” house given to him for free by either IGAD or Ethiopian government for his family accommodation during the peace talks in the Ethiopian capital.
“He or his family members do not own “luxurious houses” outside South Sudan. They are either renting shelters or are temporarily accommodated by their host authorities or friends,” Dak explained.
He also said it was “obvious” that the report could not implicate Machar in owning major companies or holding shares in the national or international companies operating in South Sudan, saying he was never corrupt to indulge himself in such deals.
The report however implicated one of Machar’s sons or nephew who owned only 1% in the Kenyan-owned KK Security company and the son reportedly took over the company’s branch office in Juba by force in anger when he was fired by his Kenyan colleagues and lost the 1% share.
When asked why the family of the former Vice President rented luxury houses in Nairobi, Dak argued that it was necessary for the family to live in a decent, secured house.
“You don’t expect a family of a Vice President to rent an apartment in a slum area in Nairobi. They should be in a decent house in a protected area. We also consider their security too,” he said.
Dak further narrated that the rented house for Machar’s family in Runda suburb in Nairobi, which picture appeared in The Sentry report, is not the current house the family is living in. He said they moved out from the Runda house several months ago when they could not afford to pay the rent for the house, and currently reside in a “much rented cheaper house.”
He said the report has clearly indicated that Machar has not involved in the corruption and owns no properties abroad.
Dak said the report which concentrated on the two leaders, their families, relatives and close senior military officers, was not comprehensive enough to investigate the other corrupt officials working with President Kiir.
He said majority of former and current ministers, members of parliament and their families have also involved in corruption and dubious deals.
The opposition leader’s spokesperson however said the report should serve as a future reference to deal with those exposed in the document to have been squandering the people’s resources and cause them to suffer more.
Meanwhile, President Kiir’s senior officials have angrily reacted to The Sentry report which has implicated with documented evidence their leader and family in the corruption, describing it as “rubbish and nonsense.”