Chagor opens a can of worms in gold, diamond debate
Jonglei governor, Denay Chagor has appealed to the national government to address the rampant looting of state resources.
Chagor pointed fingers at unnamed officials for using the country’s resources, such as gold and diamonds, for personal gains.
The governor claimed that the country continues to concentrate only on oil resources while leaving gold and diamond reserves to be amassed by individuals.
“Anything that comes out of the ground in South Sudan (gold, diamonds, and timber) should be a natural resource,” he said.
“If we do not nationalise gold and diamonds, then those states that produce the oil should own the oil if that is the case,” he said.
He questioned the minister of finance and his counterpart in the petroleum docket to explain why the minerals are owned by a few individuals.
He appealed to the government to address incidents where individuals use the resources of the country for personal benefits, adding that all the citizens need to benefit from such resources.
But in his rejoinder, the minister of petroleum, Puot Kang, said the government is in full control of the resources, whether exploited or untapped, and all the citizens are entitled to them.
“Anything beneath that land is a natural resource, and the ownership is by the people of the Republic of South Sudan but managed by the government of South Sudan on their behalf,” the minister said.
He said the constitution bars an individual or government official from claiming ownership of such resources.
“So anybody who is claiming to have it on his own, [know that] it is not constitutional,” he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Chagor called on the residents of Jonglei State to return home and continue with their lives.
“We are also calling our people to come home, including those who are in Juba here in the POC,” he appealed.
He called on the government to render the necessary support to ensure that people return to their homes.
“If there is any assistance that the central government can do to return them home, we will also welcome that,” he said.