Pay salaries, you’ll be safe: Kiir tells new minister

Pay salaries, you’ll be safe: Kiir tells new minister
President Salva Kiir. [Photo: Courtesy]

President Salva Kiir has directed the newly appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Planning to pay civil servants and organised forces salaries without delay.

He made the statement during the swearing-in of the newly appointed ministers of finance and the interior on Saturday.

Kiir directed the new finance minister, Agak Achuil Lual not to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors, whom he said had been siphoning national revenue into foreign bank accounts.

He further warned him of bribery from those he said could lure them into corrupt practices.

 “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 would have helped me, you would have helped the people of South Sudan.”

Kiir said all those who are bribed or tend to bribe others for personal gain should be either dismissed by the minister or reported to him.

“If there is someone who can be bribed because of his work, the work that he has come to serve the people, why does he want to be bribed?” asked President Kiir.

“If you notice that there is a corrupt person in the ministry whom you cannot dismiss, report him or her to me. I will dismiss him or her. Do not listen to those who will say, “We brought you.”

The new ministers cautioned

The President warned the new ministers not to be deceived that someone else recommended them to be appointed into their respective positions.

He said the appointments were his personal decision solely based on the capabilities of the new ministers; not lobbying.

“Do not be deceived. I know where you all come from. Nobody talked to me. It is me who brought you,” he added.

Kiir said he had confidence in the new Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Agak Achuil, because he was in the bush and had not turned against the movement.

He added that he knew all the new appointees’ backgrounds well and therefore warned those who could be gossiping to interrupt their services.

Previous tenures

 Agak Achuil Lual was the first Undersecretary and Technical Advisor of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, where he was said to have been doing extensive work on matters related to financial management.

Agak is said to have been later suspended for allegedly approving SSP317 million to a company without involving the then Minister for Finance, Stephen Dhieu Dau.

He also served as the Director-General in the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining. Agak had also worked as the Finance Management specialist for United Nations Development Programme, under the state program in Kuajok, Warrap State.

He had once served as the UNDP senior logistic coordinator in Rumbek and as a field officer with UNOCHA.

The new Minister of Interior, Mahmoud Solomon Agok, previously worked for the National Security Service and as the Governor of Western Lakes State.

Republican decree

On Friday, President Kiir fired Athian Diing Athian as Minister of Finance and Planning and replaced him with Agak Acuil Lual.

Also, he relieved the Minister of Interior, Paul Mayom Akech, and replaced him with Mahmoud Solomon Agok.

Athian made his way into the office in September 2020 after the dismissal of Salvatore Garang, the former Minister for Finance and Planning.

Athian is said to be the third minister for finance to be relieved since the beginning of the transitional period in 2018 and the eighth since South Sudan gained independence in 2011.

On the other hand,  Paul Mayom was appointed a month after the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in March 2020.