Lomuro quizzed over $10M transfer; Parliament now eyes Alic and Awow

Lomuro quizzed over $10M transfer; Parliament now eyes Alic and Awow

The Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr Elia Lomuro. [Sheila Ponnie, The City Review]

The Members of the National Assembly summoned top government officials on Thursday, demanding their clarification on the transfer of funds amounting to millions of dollars.  

Oyet Nathaniel, the First Deputy Speaker of the National Parliament revealed that the lawmakers summoned the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr Elia Lomuro, the Minister of Finance and Planning, Eng Awow Daniel, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ruben Madol and the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan, Dr James Alic, to explain the allocation and use of an equivalent of $10 million in South Sudan Pound (SSP) transferred to Lomuro’s ministry.

He said the funds were meant for implementing crucial provisions of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (RASs), the roadmap, and various special projects.

“This summon follows the previous summonses, demanding that the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Justice, and the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan come to Parliament to clarify the transfer and payments made to the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs,” Oyet stated in Juba yesterday.

According to Oyet, the funds, amounting to SSP 15,322,000,000, were intended to benefit several key institutions, including the National Constitutional Review Commission, the National Constitutional Amendment Committee, the National Human Rights Council, and the Judicial Reform Committee.

He said that despite the funds being transferred, the amount allocated to each institution and the detailed expenditures remain unclear.

“We could not agree as Parliament on the purposes of the fund, which we thought was as per the attachment accompanying the letter of request to the Ministry of Finance and Planning,” he said.

“Additional activities were introduced after the funds were transferred. This is where we are still going to seek further clarification from his colleagues, the Minister of Finance and Planning, and the Central Bank Governor.”

In his response, Dr Lomuro explained the historical context of the payments and the financial challenges faced as he addressed the Parliament.

 “I would like to commend the Right Honorable Speaker and the members of the various committees of the Parliament for the summit. I think it is important that we have come to clarify issues that were being circulated in some areas and could be sources of confusion,” he said.  

He revealed that the payments had been delayed and reduced due to financial constraints, complicating the process.

“Considering the financial challenges, the amounts acquired by some of the peace institutions were downgraded, reduced to nearly half, in some cases more than half,” he said. “Unfortunately, it seems as if the new revised table payment was not made clear to the Minister of Finance. And I understand that because he was just new and he may not have followed the historical records of this payment for peace implementation.”

Lomuro said the payments were made in SSP, not in dollars as previously purported.

He acknowledged that some institutions had already received partial payments and emphasised the commitment to fulfil the remaining allocations.

“The Judicial Reform Committee has already finished its job. We are only waiting for them to validate their report and submit it to the Council of Ministers and the President. The National Constitutional Amendment Committee has also expired. They have been paid only $500,000; they still have over $1.3 million to be paid,” he said.

The parliamentary session concluded with a commitment to seek further clarification from Awow and Alic to ensure complete transparency and proper utilisation of the funds.

 “Thank you so much, Honorable Minister, for coming to this summit. We still look forward to contacting your office should there be further information that we want to get from you,” Oyet remarked.