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South Sudan president contests lack of commitment in combating corruption

June 17, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan president, Salva Kiir, has defended his commitment to combating corruption in his administration, pushing the blame to global community for failure to support his drive to recover public funds stolen and stashed into foreign accounts by former and current government officials and their business associates before and after independence.

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President Salva Kiir addresses the nation at the South Sudan National Parliament in Juba, November 18, 2015. (Photo Reuters/Jok Solomon)

President Kiir’s Press Secretary, Ateny Wek Ateny, said the president attempted to recover the stolen monies but could not get the need support from the international community.

“The people of South Sudan and President Salva Kiir are the victims of corruption. It is the desire of the president to ensure those stolen money are recovered. This was why he wrote letters to 75 officials to return the money they have stolen and even offered to pardon them. This was a clear demonstration of willingness to combating corruption but the international community did not support this important campaign,” said Ateny on Friday.

The presidential aide was reacting to a report by a United States-based policy advocacy group, the Enough Project, which called on president Kiir to exhibit strong leadership and take bold decision if he were serious to combat corruption.

Enough Project also stressed that the call for global support was not formalized, suggesting lack of seriousness on the part of President Kiir.

Ateny however emphasized that his boss would be the last person in the country to entertain corruption.

He pointed to the sentencing to life imprisonment of officials in the President’s office believed to have played a role in the scandal in which 14 million US dollars and 30 million South Sudanese pounds, slipped between the fingers through forgery and impersonation of presidential seals.

The officials who stole the money got approvals from the central bank in the name of security matters at the presidency over the past years.

(ST)