Graft cannot be quantified in South Sudan, says Manyang

Graft cannot be quantified in South Sudan, says Manyang
The former Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs who now serves as the current Special Presidential Advisor Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk. [Photo: Courtesy]

Gen Kuol Manyang Juuk, Senior Presidential Advisor and former Minister of Defence, has stated that corruption exists in the country but cannot be quantified.

He stated during an exclusive interview with The City Review on Tuesday, that the Americans who claimed that 75 individuals in South Sudan had embezzled government funds could not provide details of how much money those individuals embezzled or which specific bank accounts the money was wired into.

“Of course, I don’t rule out that corruption is not there, but the level of corruption has not yet been quantified, whether they are all the people who are corrupt or individuals, and why are they not apprehended?” he noted.

He reiterated that corruption was a “difficult animal to control”, because accusations without evidence could not paint a good picture. He cited a challenge of auditing foreign banks when there were such accusations, saying that foreign banks could not accept auditing.

“There are some technical issues that we still ask ourselves.” Corruption is there worldwide, so, it is a difficult animal to control. But also, you cannot accuse somebody without evidence if he has taken the money. In a clever way, we will just be suspecting that this person has taken the money. But how do we prove that? Proving it is not easy,” Gen Kuol added.

Financial requests terminated

In November 2021, the Minister for Finance and Planning, Agak Achuil Lual, warned government officials against unauthorised financial requests with fake documents in his ministry.

The Finance Minister made the statement during his reception at the ministry of education and called upon the government officials to help him fight inflation.

“I am not here in this ministry to fight but to work and make sure that the economy improves. We need to work as a team to improve the economy. We need to stabilise the economy so that prices of commodities stabilise in the markets,” Agak said.

Agak further warned the National Revenue Authority not to spend the revenue collected from citizens and business owners.

“The national revenue authority was created to collect the taxes.” It’s not a spending agency. All the money should be collected, and I will be the one to release it. Don’t take the money from the collection account, “he warned.

“I will do the reform and I will start from where they have stopped because the reform does not belong to the International Monitory Fund or World Bank. It’s our reform, “he said.

President’s directive

Last year, during the swearing-in ceremony of the new finance minister, Agak, President Salva Kiir directed Agak to pay civil servants and organised forces their salaries without delay.

“Make sure that all the civil servants and the organised forces are paid monthly.” If you do that, it is not only you who has helped yourself, you have also helped me, and you have helped the people of South Sudan,’’ the President warned as he delivered his statement after the swearing-in of ministers.

He further directed him not to follow the footsteps of his predecessors, who he said used to syphon money into foreign bank accounts.

The current finance minister, Agak Achuil Lual, is the ninth minister to serve in the institution since independence on July 9, 2011.