Home | News    Friday 24 September 2021

South Sudan elites diverted $73m from public coffers: report


JPEG - 106 kb
UN Commission on Human Rights in Sudan (from left) Yasmin Sooka, Chair, Andrew Clapham and Barney Afako (2018), by UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (Twitter Photo)

September 23, 2021 (Geneva)- South Sudanese elites diverted staggering amounts of money and other wealth from public coffers and resources, undermining human rights and endangering security, the Commission on Human Rights said in a report.

The report was presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday.

According to investigations carried out by the Commission over the past two years, more than $73 million USD was diverted since 2018, including transactions worth almost $39 million USD in a period of less than two months.

The Commission noted that this figure is only a fraction of the overall amount looted; as President Salva Kiir himself admitted as far back as 2012, South Sudan’s ruling elites had diverted more than $4 billion USD.

The Commission is mandated to monitor and report on the human rights situation in South Sudan, and to clarify responsibility for alleged violations and related crimes, as well as to make recommendations to improve the situation.

In its Conference Room Paper, the Commission has highlighted how the systematic, illicit diversion of State resources has severely undermined the economic, social, and cultural rights of citizens.

This plundering also continues to fuel political competition amongst elites, and is a key driver of the on-going conflict, violations, and serious crimes, jeopardizing the prospects for sustainable peace.

The Commission’s recommendations aimed at the Government of South Sudan seek to ensure that the State can protect and fulfil the rights of its citizens.

The Commission’s Conference Room Paper also highlights that South Sudan’s elites have deliberately adopted a highly informal system of oil revenue collection, in which the absence of independent oversight and transparency facilitates and enables the misappropriation of public funds. Similarly flawed, non-transparent processes for contract payments, procurements, and revenue are operated illicitly to divert non-oil revenues.

In just one emblematic case, the Commission revealed how a single payment made unlawfully in May 2018 by the Ministry of Finance to Sudanese businessman Ashraf Seed Ahmed Al-Cardinal, also known as “Al Cardinal”, represented a staggering 21.6 per cent of South Sudan’s total budget for the “Use of Goods and Services” and “Capital Expenditure” for the entire 2018/2019 fiscal year.

“The Commission’s documentation of the corruption, embezzlement, bribery, and misappropriation of State funds by political elites is merely the tip of the iceberg”, stated Commission Chair Yasmin Sooka.

“Our investigations traced exactly how this money is being diverted, and our findings revealing the patterns and trends of the embezzlement include the involvement of politicians, Government officials, international corporations, military personnel, and multinational banks in these crimes. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the National Revenue Authority, and a number of foreign corporations have all been complicit in this”, she added.

The Commission’s Conference Room Paper also emphasizes and draws a link between the illicit diversion of funds and the inadequacy of resources available to public authorities to fulfil their legal obligations to provide for the enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights of citizens.

“The violations of human rights and related crimes we have been investigating refer to a broad category of activities involving money, finances, or assets, the purpose of which is to unlawfully obtain a profit or advantage for the perpetrators”, explained Commissioner Andrew Clapham.

“These activities are proscribed by both national legislation and international law, including the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, the Anti-Corruption Commission Act, and the Investigation Committees Act. As a State party, South Sudan is further bound by the UN Convention against Corruption. Accordingly, other States party to that Convention may be obligated to repatriate funds that originated in South Sudan and were illicitly used to purchase real estate abroad, as we have documented in considerable detail”, he added.

The Commission’s report also highlights that South Sudan’s oil industry is dominated by unaccountable oil consortia, the actions of which have wrought considerable devastation, including environmental degradation and damage impacting on the health of citizens. Oil spills in the Pariang and Rubkona counties of Unity State, for example, have led to pre-term births, stillbirths, congenital anomalies or deaths in new-born, blindness, male sexual dysfunction, and low fertility.

“We have analyzed a series of preventable health incidents induced by disease and devastating birth defects, including many that can be directly attributed to the presence of crude oil contamination in water, contributing to environmental degradation”, stated the Commission chair Yasmin Sooka.

“The harm wreaked by these major oil consortia on local communities, and in particular the impact on infants who continue to suffer from severe birth defects, is utterly egregious and devastating for families”, she added.

The Commission also underscored that the illicit gains from economic crimes also serve as a major driver of armed conflict in South Sudan.

“South Sudan’s damaging conflicts have been significantly enabled and even motivated by the opportunities to control and divert natural resources as well as oil and non-oil revenues”, said Commissioner Barney Afako.

“Moreover, national authorities and elites have prioritized the financing of military and security apparatuses over investment in public services, infrastructure, and livelihoods. We strongly urge the Government to act swiftly and decisively fully to implement Chapter IV of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, which provides the appropriate basis for ensuring the effective resource, economic, and financial management in South Sudan”, he added.

The Commission has identified several individuals allegedly linked to human rights violations and related economic crimes, and has included them in its confidential list that will be handed to the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the purpose of facilitating transitional justice responses, including investigations and prosecution


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

What Makes an Uprising? 2021-09-03 17:29:45 By: Dr Lam Akol* In an undated article, Hon. Atem Garang de Kuek discussed what was required for an uprising in South Sudan to succeed as did three uprisings in the recent history of Sudan (...)

Is IGAD partly responsible for current confusion in South Sudan? 2021-08-21 09:41:17 By Bol Khan In April 2016, Radio Tamazuj posted and answered questions about the fainting Security arrangements or demilitarization of the capital, Juba as stipulated in 2015's signed ARCSS and (...)

South Sudan People Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) is to create warlords 2021-08-19 11:06:28 By Steve Paterno In South Sudan, where just about everyone has access to guns (tons of them), and almost every ambitious politician is a potential warlord, any slight destabilization of the (...)


Latest Press Releases

Statemeny bu Hala al-Karib to UN Security Council on women conditions in Sudan 2021-09-15 11:59:16 Statement by Ms Hala Al-Karib to the UN Security Council 14 September 2021 Madam President, Excellencies, My name is Hala Al-Karib and I am the Regional Director of the Strategic Initiative (...)

Joint Communiqué on the visit of H.E. the Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan to Juba 2021-08-23 11:23:26 19 – 21 August 2021 His Excellency Dr Abdallah Hamdok, Prime Minister of the Republic of the Sudan and Chairperson of IGAD, accompanied by Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Trade, (...)

S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)


Copyright © 2003-2021 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.