Do not embarrass me, pay EAC, please – Wondu tells Kiir’s administration

Do not embarrass me, pay EAC, please – Wondu tells Kiir’s administration
Auditor General of South Sudan Audit Chamber, Amb. Steven Wondu (photo credit: file)

The newly-appointed Chairperson of the East Africa Audit Commission, Steven Wondu, has called on his government to clear subscription arrears at the bloc.

 Wondu said paying the dues would ‘‘allow him to walk majestically in his new assignment.’’

Wondu, who is the current South Sudan Auditor General, was appointed chairperson of the EAC Audit Commission on July 12, marking the first time for South Sudan to occupy the seat since joining the bloc in 2016. 

The commission is one of the powerful EAC independent bodies that performs myriad tasks including post-audit review and scrutiny of the expenditure incurred by the EAC Secretariat and other organs and institutions of the community. 

It also carries out post-audit review and scrutiny of the expenditure based on an annual audit report of the Audit Commission in accordance with the provisions of Article 49 (2)(c) and 134 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, which involves scrutinising and evaluating the performance of the budget.

The commission presents reports and recommendations of its audit-related functions to the EAC Legislative Assembly for consideration, approval, and adaptation after the post-audit review and scrutiny.  

Need to act first

But Wondu said failure by his government to fulfil the country’s membership obligation could ‘weaken’ his ability to execute these crucial roles as the chair of the EAC Audit Commission. 

“The most urgent one [for my success] is we should pay our subscription fee so that I can move around with dignity [so that] when I talk of the budget of the commission, they should not throwback to me,” Wondu said.

“So that I can have the audacity to participate in the decision-making of the finances of the community as the chairman of the audit committee.”

Wondu was speaking in an exclusive interview with The City Review in his office in Juba on Wednesday. 

He added that “If my country is in default, it weakens my ability to guide in the budget situation of the community.”

South Sudan is obligated to pay an annual subscription fee of $8.4 million to the EAC but failed to pay for at least four years, accruing to $41.7 million in arrears.

According to Dr Ann Itto, the chairperson of the South Sudan East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Chapter, the country paid its subscription fee only once since its admission, which resulted in such accumulated arrears.

 “If you put together our contribution over the last five years, we covered [paid] for one full year; meaning that there are four more years which have not been covered [paid],” said Dr Itto on Tuesday.  

Dr Itto, who doubles as South Sudan’s representative to the EALA, said failure by her country to clear the arrears affects the bloc budget, calling on the government to commit to its obligation.