Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 19 September 2011

Who are the "13 most corrupt" South Sudanese officials?


By Justin Ambago Ramba

September 18, 2011 — It is no secret that one of the outstanding political changes in Africa which more than not is attributable to the post 9/11 US foreign policy shift is the coming of South Sudan into the central stage of the world politics. Nobody knew that the fate of this people who led one of Africa’s longest liberation struggles in the modern history would change so dramatically as it did soon as the US changed its’ polices and alliances in the Arab and Islamic region.

As a fact of history, the way to South Sudan’s independence wasn’t any easy. To put it mildly, it was in defiance of many old regional political traditions and negatively held views about secessionism in the African continent that the new Republic of South Sudan (RSS) deservedly made it to become the world’s newest state. But as we follow some of the stories as they unfold, one is left with the impression that there is more to this new nation’s politics than that meets the eye.

South Sudan ceases to appear young when it comes to how it creates multi-millionaires overnight. Still classified as one of the world’s poorest state though oil producing, the country surprising against all odds has the highest rate of freedom fighters turned public fund looters. One may ask how come that such things be allowed to go on unabated in an age where good governance and accountability are not only the dominant slogans of the new world order, but are in fact being taught on regular basis by the countless Western NGOs and their local counterparts to all management levels in the developing countries who heavily depend on USAID and EU development funds and partnership.

Today as I write, politics is about to take a different turn in South Sudan, and even the SPLM party which by design prides itself for commanding an unquestionable majority in running the state machinery is realising that, in the absence of the traditional scapegoat, it will only have itself to blame for its long accumulating dirty records on delivery of services and the rampant mismanagement of resources.

It is true that South Sudan by necessity is a nation whose people’s expectations see no limit; however it is the lack of the limit to greed for power and public money that has taken the lead under President Salva Kiir’s leadership. The new republic has much to leave every one’s mouth gapping in surprise.

The Radio Miraya (South Sudan) a news portal of high integrity, published in its local news column that came out on the 7th of September 2011 some of the most fascinating deliberations by the RSS National Legislative Assembly on the performance of the South Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission as it presented its claims of investigations into some 60 cases of corruption and the recovery of more than SSP 120 million (approx. $20 million) that was swindled through corruption in a report read out by Dr. Pauline Riak, the Commission’s Chairperson.

Despite Dr. Pauline Riak’s assertion that many other cases had been referred to other investigations agencies, she seemed to have failed to impress her audience; for it was apparent that the shift in regional power balance as influenced by the new political landscape is beginning to bite. And no wonder when Paul Akol MP demanded an answer to why the Commissioner’s report made no any reference to the mushrooming South Sudanese millionaires who have accumulated wealth under very suspicious circumstances, it left the impression that whatever Dr. Pauline Riak and her Commission was engaged in over the years since they became operational is way behind what the common South Sudanese citizen already knows.

It is the story of the so-called “13 top corrupt South Sudanese” whose list is believed to be out there that continues to dominate the discussion in the elite circles, since it was first made public by the word of mouth a few days following the independence celebrations on 9th July 2011. Again it was the Radio Miraya in its coverage of the National Legislative Assembly’s deliberations on corruption that confirmed the high level of anxiousness which surrounds this “political abscess”, when it wrote and I quote:

“Legislators however wondered why “the 13 people” cited on the American list of alleged top corrupt South Sudanese officials were not mentioned in the report.” Radio Miraya wrote on 7th September 2011.

However, this is not the first time that legislators and the members of the press have tried to bring to light this story of “ the 13 top corrupt”officials, as similar attempts can be traced back to the day the names of the new government cabinet were taken to the Parliament for approval. According to the renowned Sudan Tribune 31 August 2011, an MP was quoted as saying:

“The MPs of the SPLM caucus also criticised the lack of consultations within the party in the process of nominations. They said the President instead informally consulted with unimportant individuals and not the SPLM as an institution.”

“They also initially demanded that the President should first show them the list 13 ministers believed to be involved in corruption so that the parliament could make sure that their appointment are not endorsed. However, the ruling party’s caucus finally compromised their position; he added and decided to approve all the appointed ministers and their deputies during the parliamentary sitting on Wednesday despite the concerns about their involvement in corruption.” He added.

As can be seen, the public and some of the lawmakers are trying to fight this battle with the government, but specifically so with President Kiir directly for there is a strong believe that a credible international body, probably a development partner of South Sudan has raised up the issues of the “the 13 top corrupted politicians” with the President. And the SPLM leadership’s choice of silence on the issues assuming that it will eventually die away is a miscalculation, because the continuous rise in the cost of living is likely to bring the topic to the front.

Again, it won’t go well for President Kiir should at all he chose to side with what is widely perceived as internationally identified bunch of thieves and greedy politicians, while the helpless returnees and immensely compromised children die of hunger and malnutrition. It will no longer be business as usual when diabolical politicians out of sheer greed and wickedness make it away with what is clearly stolen wealth while poverty associated diseases unabatedly take precious lives even within what technical are the President’s kinsmen’s backyards.

Any moment as it passes one cannot tell for certain what the other would bring, nonetheless the average citizen will have to re-evaluate his/her position over the massive disillusionment with the economic stagnation, rapidly growing unemployment rate amongst the youth, the rocketing prices of essential commodities, and worse still is the desperation of waking up to face yet the same fate another day.

President Salva Kiir and his deputy forever Dr. Riek Machar both continue in their silence as the debate on ‘the 13 top corrupt South Sudanese’ boils. Sadly though, this worrisome silence comes against a background of a series of inter-communal killings dubbed as cattle rustling. Whatever the real nature of the killings where the President’s home state of Warrap is depicted against its neighbours in the Unity state, vice President Dr. Riek Machar’s stronghold, one thing is for certain that the two leaders are for tactical reasons choosing to be complacent in what looks like, ‘the magic turn against the magician’.

This case at hand has more to it than the SPLM leadership would want it to appear, for how can our universities which represent our true sovereign dignity, national pride, and state symbols and our hopes for a better future stand helpless with no clues of how they can function without accommodation for students, no libraries, no laboratories, no transportation budgets etc etc, etc …….when all these could have been possible under responsible government with the political will to reclaim back to the people what has been stolen from them.

The new Republic of South Sudan and its people for a very good reason see in the US government an indispensable friend in spite of the fact that most of the stolen money is likely to end up in the US banks while not excluding Europe and Australia. Nonetheless, it will be to the interest of the two allies for President Obama administration to offer the lead in helping the nascent state fight corruption by exposing corrupted South Sudanese officials and deny them any safe havens on the American soil.

South Sudanese people are keenly following the development that the US President Barack Obama will sooner than later be meeting, hopefully next week (last week of September 2011) in the margins of the UN General Assembly with the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit with the intention to mark his support to the world’s newest state. He too is aware of the many political and economic challenges that continue to face the newly independent state. And according to the Sudan Tribune 16.09.2011, Ben Rhodes, the US deputy national security advisor did express optimisms on the meeting between the two men, when he was quoted as saying:

“We [US government] welcome, of course, South Sudan as the newest member state of the United Nation. The United States has played a long role in supporting a resolution to the conflict in the Sudan and self-determination for the south Sudanese,” said the advisor.

As good as it is for our friends to identify with us in public gatherings, they must remember that they have moral obligation not only to pamper us with sweet words, or well wrapped aid packages that we can carry away, but they are also expected as friends help us put our house in order.

International pressure on President Kiir may be all that is needed to make him break his silence on “the 13 most corrupt South Sudanese” bring them immediately to justice and recover the public funds that are illegally in the wrong possession. However, should his silence be driven by the worst case scenario suggesting implicitness, and then it becomes either him or South Sudan. For it doesn’t really matter when people will finally be forced to conclude that the President himself is one of “those top 13”, because for the many lives lost, the much blood spilled, the huge sacrifices done and the sufferings of the masses that continue to date, the whole system will just have to go one way or the other. But as for the discontent and the dissent, they are surely brewing, and fast.

Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba is the Secretary General of the United South Sudan Party (USSP). He can be reached at justinramba@aol.co.uk or justinramba@doctors.net.uk

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  • 19 September 2011 08:28, by Cibaipiath Junub Sudan

    Mr. Justin;
    Even if we write a very lengthy complain following statements or press released by the President on the subject of H.E. the President that became now your subject of the article, the president now has regretted why he made that statement against his own SPLM members to the Public.

    Dr. Riak Machar has repeatedly apologized to members of Bor Community for 1991 Genocide this is because he want to be the future main celebrance of South Sudan by 2015.

    The same thing will happen to Kiir Mayardit. He will apologize to his 13 Giant corruptees although he is inclusive.

    The South Sudan National Legislative Assembly will not be made to know who are really these people. Kiir has already neutaralised the case by taking all suspect to the Assembly. This will not leave the assemby to investigate the matter and if part of Assembly insist to investigate the 13 Giant then the physical fighting will soon break out within the Assembly since most of them hold pistols within the Assembly. Therefore, forget about 13 giants because President has already made the mistake and it is a mistake after mistakes. This is a liberation we were proud.

    repondre message

    • 19 September 2011 14:05, by nhomachotdeng

      May they are 10 plus two of them who knows but only God Knows.

      repondre message

    • 20 September 2011 12:08, by jubaone

      Mr. Junub Sudan,

      Had it not been for the hard criticisms on the need to disclose these "13 most corrupted" insatiable and perverted politicians for public monies, then Mr. Kiir would have brushed off these as mere allegations and never dared to even apologize. Indications suggest of a broader and well organised pillaging by the very politicians who have again been given offices by Mr. Kiir. Rumours are that, those in fear for being implicated were already jerky and threatened Mr. Kiir, that they would equally give in his name. This explains, why the names have not been made public yet. After all these, business can no longer be as usual. Heads will roll, if not soon then later. Just be rest assured

      repondre message

  • 20 September 2011 16:37, by jamuse

    Dear Justin,
    Kirr is inclusive in the case with 12 other greedy SPLA/M members.Generals in army looted alot also .Public in silence watching mismanagement of funds but, the law will put their system to an end.
    man, forget of tiny figure because we failed to claim huge trillions of USD from the follow.
    1-Ismail ALzar
    2-Ibrihim Abuod
    3-Jafer Mohammed Nimery
    4-Suor Al Daf
    5-Sadig Almahdi
    6-Omer Hassan Bashir.
    Investigation launch on this looted Money will put parliamentarians into conflict.Dr. Riak machar, Salva Kiir, Salva Mathok Gengdit, Uyai Deng,Bior Ajang Duot(Asuod),Issac Mamuor and the rest are invloved in corruption.That list of 13 is not needed now because it will demoralized cabinet and state governors including Kuol Manyang Juok and Taban Deng Gai who are in silence .it is not difficult in the future to touch this chain/cable of corruption , for days are coming sooner for them to be in beds and great public of ROSS will enjoy freedom and democracy.

    repondre message

  • 20 September 2011 23:19, by Cadaai ?o?

    Historian and Identity Advocacy View:

    To me, I think the punishment should be given to these corruptionist whenever they are identify, they should be either demoted and taken out of the high positions they have in South Sudan government as their punishments. Why I say that? Well, we all may know that; we are all human beings who could make some mistake and in that matter, their mistakes were done by the majority of people who are being considered by South Sudanese as their liberators or heroes if you will. So in my view, they need forgiven as exchanges for their long time commitments to freedom of our people without being paid. I know some of you may think that I support wrong-doings, no! I don’t support-doing by anybody, but let’s be honest about this issue of corruptions. It is not simple to us all as South Sudanese but again if we know corruptionist I think we just needs to forgiven them for what they have done in more than 22 years without compensations.
    As I understand some rules of laws, lets’ considered them that they were doing wrong things before our new state becomes independent. Which is I considered as South Sudanese lawless times. But after independence of South Sudan in July 9, 2011 should be considered as lawful time for South Sudanese. Anybody who would do any corruption at this particular period should be punish using any law attributes that is appropriate for corruption.

    Good job President Salva Kiir Mayardit, and Nhialicda be with you with our people of South Sudn. South Sudan Oyeee!!!

    repondre message

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