BY: Peter Gai Manyuon, JUN/24/2016, SSN;
Although the major corruption scandal since the beginning of the self-rule in Juba has been the so-called “Dura Saga,” there have been dozens of other significant instances of a similar wrongdoing, like corruption in the Presidency and the entire branches of the government in South Sudan. The problem is compounded by serious lack of transparency in South Sudanese government records and business information, whereby requests for official data can be arbitrarily turned down with impunity.
Corruption has been the top priority among the Ministers, Governors, and commissioners across the entire Country. The question which always come up is whether corruption is rooted in South Sudanese blood or it’s something adopted from other Countries or cultures?
In most cases, president Kiir has defended his commitment to combating corruption in his administration, pushing the blame always to global community for failure to support his drive to recover public funds stolen and stashed in foreign accounts by his former Ministers, Governors, Army Generals and some within the current Cabinet and their business associates before and after Independence.
The officials who stole the money got approvals from the central bank in the name of security matters at the presidency over the past years up to now and still the President is not taking serious action/measures against the group, instead he is promoting corruption in the country.
Who’s to blame now? Who are the right criminals that should have been prosecuted in South Sudan? Why not including the seventy five 75 criminals who took over 4 billion dollars and stashed them in foreign countries?
In reality, the nation has lacked any and all regulations to combat frauds and malfeasance among the senior officials especially among the government procurement officials within the Central Bank of South Sudan and ministry of finance and economic planning.
These episodes have often been shrouded in confusion and have almost never resulted in proper prosecution of individuals or in good punishment as required by the supreme law of the Country.
Why prosecuting only junior criminals and fearing to prosecute senior criminals? Something is wrong somewhere within the Presidency and the entire leadership of the Country!
However, Penal Code Act 2008, Chapter 2, mentioned very clearly the conviction for offences committed within South Sudan, only that most of the senior judges are not following their judicial litigation as many wish, rather they are misinterpreting laws wrongly.
All the court cases that have been there since 2005 up to date, no single case has been handled well, instead judges are using assumptions and interests to decide cases of great concern. What a disgrace?
Nevertheless, the same Penal Code Act 2008 mentioned life Imprisonment clearly only that judges in South Sudan don’t read laws sometimes. The penal code says a sentence to life imprisonment shall be equivalent to a term of twenty (20) years, moreover the judgment by the so called Judges in the Republic of South Sudan against the prosecuted sixteen (16) corrupt individuals within the Presidency is not a binding judgment.
Rather; it is a politically motivated scenario accompanied by sectarianism, greediness, primitiveness and lack of intellectual dynamism within the Presidency and Judiciary in the Country.
How can a judgment be passed without elucidating the law that should guide the litigation? Judgment was supposed to be different based on the number of the alleged corrupt officials within the presidency. There should have been senior thieves who came up with the idea of forging the signature of the President and the rests follows….. but giving a equal judgment is wrong and not fair and absolute.
Nullification or revisiting laws again is the only option at this particular period of time. If we really want fairness in our judicial system, then from the Presidency up to grassroots, we should be frank and honest of where the 4 Billion dollars stolen by these leaders are at the moment.
Covering up realities and facts will always jeopardize our growth as the country. Every judgment by Judiciary or any court, the President and his cabinet always impede with the court’s proceedings.
In fact, corruption, nepotism and hooliganism are the mission, vision of the government beginning from the time Dr. John Garang died in confusion between Uganda and South Sudan in 2005 up to date.
In summary, the issue of the seventy five (75) and sixteen (16) corrupt officials who took 4 billion dollars and 14 million dollars respectively should have been given the same judgment of life imprisonment if at all; the Presidency or Judiciary is really advocating for free corruption in the Country.
Giving life sentences to only sixteen (16) individuals alone without the criminals who took huge amount of 4 billion dollars is not absolutely right. The prosecuted individuals took money from Presidency using the forged signature, than they are supposed to be asked to return the money back to the Presidency and if they don’t want to return the money; they should be in prison for not more than twenty years as stated by penal code act, 2008 of South Sudan rather than life imprisonment without number of years. Fairness in judgment should be observed by the Judiciary of South Sudan once again!
The author is an Independent Journalist and Columnist who has written extensively on issues on Human Rights and Democratization. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.