The Minister of Health on Wednesday 27th of May fired Dr Angok Gordon Kuol Tiir as the Incident Manager for COVID-19 at the Ministry of Health.
Dr Angok was fired following a bitter wrangle involving him, Dr Thuou Loi the spokesman of the Ministry, Dr Makur Matur Kariom the Undersecretary and the Dr Monywiir Arop. In bitter email exchanges seen by the National Courier, Dr Thuou accused Dr Makur of incompetence and undermining his colleagues Dr Angok and Dr Monywiir.
Shortly after the dispute broke out, Dr Angok Kuol was fired allegedly based on recommendation of Dr Makur.
Following the saga, yesterday, internal documents at the ministry written in April were leaked. The allegations are that Dr Makur took $30,000 USD from the account of the Ministry of Health from the central bank. He allegedly did not sign any documents up to now.
It emerged that the Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Health had recommended:
Dr Makur be suspended and investigated or
President Kiir to fire the Undersecretary and appoint a new one.
However, the Minister of Health has not acted on the legal advise.
Recently, when I went on national TV and spoke that I am “protecting small tribes,” I don’t want that statement to be misconstrued by some of my brothers from the communities of Lou Nuer and Dinka Bor. When I was saying my mission is the protection of small tribes, it does not mean supplying them with weapons. Protection means, I want to see peace, development, and prosperity among those small tribes. For example, getting an administrative area for them is a great political achievement, leading toward peace and prosperity. In the same national TV interview, I was asked to answer the accusation that I was extracting goals in Murle land, hence, my interest in the area. However, there is never anything of economic and monetary value in Murle land that I know of, which I can personally benefit from. My involvement with people of Murle, Anyuak, Jie, and Kachipo is purely driven by my passion and compassion to see uplifting of the communities in the area.
In my obligation and compassion, I never came short from helping the Nuer people either. Just in December 2013 war in Juba, I remember helping and saving the lives of over 500 Nuers. For example, the wife of Keribino Konyin Bol, Madam Nyandeng Chol Dut Akok called and informed me that some thugs were attacking the house of former minister Gabriel Changson. Without question, I immediately rushed, picked Changson and brought him to the residence of the president in safety. I spent my personal money, helping in transporting some stranded Nuer youth in Juba to go to Ethiopia. Those included the bodyguard of Ambassador Ezekiel Lul, T.J.
In July 2016, J1 battle, I received distress calls from those of Ambassador Ezekiel Lul and Honorable Alfred Lado Gore who were bogged down in the office of Honorable Mayiik Ayii Deng during the ensuing firefights. I had to risk my personal safety to rescue their lives. I ended up playing a big role in calming the firefights in J1 that day. The next day of the fight, I collected some SPLM-IO VIP and generals and put them in the Royal Plaza Hotel. I asked the National Security Service (NSS) to provide them with security; meanwhile, I catered for their accommodations and feedings. I put more than 150 Nuers in New Sudan Hotel. I told Amin Akasha to feed them and the government would pay him later. I put many more vulnerable Nuers during the battles in different hotels for their own safety. I risked my own life and used my personal resources as a result. I also used the house of Honorable Tut Kew as a centre for rescue and protection of those Nuers who were under attacks by some tribal Dinka armed thugs. Many more people who were witnesses of my acts could attest to these facts. People like Vice President Taban Deng Gai, Honorable John Luk, General Thomas Douth, Ambassador Ezekiel Lul, Honorable Alfred Lado Gore, Honorable Gabriel Changson, Honorable Yien Oral, General Lul Ruei and many more others will testify to these.
The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system.
South Sudan’s last four army chiefs of staff, four high-ranking military leaders, and three opposition militia leaders have engaged in business activities indicative of money laundering and corruption, The Sentry has found. Many of these men share personal or commercial ties with President Salva Kiir, who regularly intervenes in legal proceedings targeting his staunchest friends and allies.1 All but two have led troops who committed grave human rights violations, starting with the December 2013 mass atrocities in Juba that launched a long and bloody civil war.
This report examines the commercial and financial activities of former Army chiefs of staff Gabriel Jok Riak, James Hoth Mai, Paul Malong Awan, and Oyay Deng Ajak, along with senior military officers Salva Mathok Gengdit, Bol Akot Bol, Garang Mabil, and Marial Chanuong.2 Militia leaders linked to major instances of violence both before and during the civil war that ended in February 2020—Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang, Johnson Olony, and David Yau Yau—are also profiled here.
This report is part of The Taking of South Sudan series. Explore the full series here.
Except for Hoth Mai and Ajak, these men have committed egregious human rights violations with near total impunity since the country’s independence, according to the United Nations and the African Union. Each of these military figures has corporate holdings in South Sudan with possible conflicts of interest, connections to the international financial system, or indicators of corruption and money laundering. Most secured top government posts after commanding troops who committed major abuses, and some have been shareholders in corporations publicly linked to corruption scandals.34 General Johnson Juma Okot replaced Jok Riak as chief of staff on May 11, 2020.5 Okot has also led troops who committed mass violence against civilians, including sexual and gender-based crimes.67 In addition, he has reportedly been involved in various corruption schemes, such as misappropriating money intended to fund food rations for his troops, leaving them to loot as a means to sustain themselves.8910
These individuals profited from South Sudan’s corrupt system of patronage both before and after leading forces who committed mass atrocities. Documents reviewed by The Sentry indicate that they exploited their positions of power to empty the state’s coffers and weaken its institutions with little accountability for this corruption or for the human rights violations they perpetrated. Their posts provided easy access to government funds that appear to have financed luxurious lifestyles for relatives overseas in some instances, instead of desperately needed infrastructure, economic development, education, and health services at home. Critics of this system have been harassed, intimidated, imprisoned, and even killed.1112
• The four living ex-chiefs of staff, along with Mathok and Chanuong, accumulated significant wealth that well exceeded the scope of their government salaries around that time through commercial and/or corrupt activities.
• The senior military leaders’ business interests overlap with each other, with those of other leading government officials, and with numerous international investors. Many have close business ties to Kiir’s family.
• Nearly every case examined here features significant international connections in the form of foreign business partners, funds transiting through international banks, property purchased abroad, and/or immediate relatives—many holding shares in the same companies—living outside South Sudan. International shareholders come from such diverse countries as China, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and the United Kingdom.
• The companies of some current and former security sector leaders received major state contracts or preferential access to foreign currency, among other apparent conflicts of interest. Such conduct constitutes a threat to peace, stability, and transparency.
• The Sentry identified conduct indicative of corruption, financial crimes, and money laundering.
The formation of a power-sharing government in February 2020 marks a significant step in the peace process. However, South Sudan still faces a long road to becoming a stable, prosperous country. Without vastly improved and enforced transparency and accountability, the system will remain largely unchanged, the civil war will reignite, and the fledgling peace process will struggle to succeed.
• Limited transparency enables suspicious conduct. While the constitution requires “constitutional office holders” to declare their assets, it fails to mandate public disclosure or to precisely define the term itself. No independent mechanism verifies the veracity and frequency of asset declarations. In addition, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act of 2018, which applies to defense and national security institutions, guarantees open bidding. Despite this provision and other similar legislation, defense procurement processes remain murky in practice. The current legislation provides little clarity on how to enforce legally mandated transparency measures in the bidding process, thereby facilitating corruption and conflicts of interest.13
• Lack of oversight shields corruption. Defense and security institutions routinely withhold crucial information about their budgets. Alternative mechanisms allow these institutions’ spending to take place outside of the normal budget or auditing process out of concern for “national security.”14 Major oversight institutions charged with regulating the military are either compromised or toothless, and defense institutions often fail to comply with requests from auditors and investigators, including the auditor general and the Anti-Corruption Commission.
• Violators hold power. Top military leaders under sanctions for corruption, human rights violations, and peace process disruptions have recently held key posts, such as the army’s inspector general and head of procurement.15 Military institutions have failed to hold their members legally accountable for grave human rights violations or corruption.
A path forward
The following measures, if implemented, would hold corrupt military leaders accountable and help South Sudan seize the opportunity presented by the newly formed transitional government to emerge from kleptocracy:
• Tools of financial pressure. The international community—especially the African Union, European Union, United Nations, United Kingdom, and United States—should sustain network sanctions, improve anti-money laundering measures and asset seizure and recovery efforts, and increase domestic and international investigations to stem the flow of the proceeds of corruption out of South Sudan. Financial pressure strategies must provide accountability, promote the peace process, and disrupt spoiler activity.
• Corruption-sensitive security sector reform, oversight, and transparency. Anti-corruption measures must be at the heart of any security reform program that hopes to incentivize peace in South Sudan. Increased oversight and transparency around officials’ asset declarations and military procurement processes, as well as the inclusion of independent auditors, inspectors general, and ethics units in each branch of the military, could reduce corruption that fuels violence. Legislative oversight bodies must be independent and empowered. The SPLA Act of 2009 should be amended to include guidance on procurement processes, independent oversight within the Ministry of Defense, and National Legislature oversight. In accordance with the constitution, no militias should exist outside of official structures. Oversight, competitive bidding processes, and enforcement of the rule of law are required to dismantle the system of corruption and impunity that exists within military and para-military structures.
Accountability and the peace process. The transitional government should establish and empower a hybrid anti-corruption commission to prosecute crimes committed during the civil war, as stipulated by the peace agreement. If the government fails to establish the commission, the international community should exert pressure and help stand up a hybrid court to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and economic crimes.
A Senior South Sudan government official has been put under ventilators
after developing coronavirus disease symptoms over earlier this week, sources have said from Juba.
An aide said Cabinet was put under ventilators on Sunday after developing COVID-19 symptoms which forced him to decide that he is taken to a government hospital.
“The minister developed coronavirus symptoms on Sunday and on Monday, those symptoms worsened and then decided that he must be taken to a government hospital,” the aide close to Lomoro told South Sudan News Now.
“He is now under ventilators at Dr. John Garang Hospital (Dr. John Garang Center for Infectious Disease) and we hope that all will be ok,” the aide added.
South Sudan has seen rise in coronavirus cases since President Salva Kiir Mayardit decided earlier this month to lift partial lockdown imposed in March by his government to curb the rapid spread of the diseases which has now killed half a million people around the world.
Yesterday, the government announced that 151 more people have tested positive for the virus and that brings the total number of those with the virus to 816.
Senior government officials including the First Vice President have been infected by the deadly virus.
Machar, his wife and defense minister, Angelina Teny, and the ministry of information Michael Makuei Lueth are the only senior government officials to announce publicly that they have contracted the virus.
Controversy surrounding “virus removing cards” took another twist today after Japanese Embassy in Juba issued a statement denying their involvement.
It emerged late last week various government officials were wearing chlorine dioxide emitting cards ostensibly to protect themselves against COVID-19. South Sudanese on social media alleged the government paid millions of dollars to acquire the cards which are said on advise to be unable to preivent infection and deemed dangerous for human health by Federal Drugs Administration (FDA) of the United States.
However J1, through Ateny Wek Ateny dismissed the claims yesterday saying the cards were donated by the Japanese Prime Minister to President Kiir and other government officials.
Ateny claimed wearing the cards is “just like wearing a mask”. He said the cards protect an individual wearing them up to three metres away. He said the government did not pay for the cards.
However, the Embassy of Japan in South Sudan has issued a statement denying the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe donated COVID-19 “virus removing cards”.
“There is no fact that the Government of Japan has donated such cards to the leadership of the Government of South Sudan and we regret that the Office of the President made public announcement of such wrong information”.
It is not clear why the spokesman of the president felt a need to lie to the public. The National Courier could not reach the Office of the President for comment.
May 24, 2020 News, Newsbeat, South Sudan Leave a comment
Former governor of the defunct Buma state David Yau Yau appears in the frontline in Jonglei few years ago (Photo credit: VOA)
May 23, 2020 (SSNN) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has condemned a new outbreak of intercommunal violence in South Sudan that has left hundreds dead, calling for those responsible to be brought swiftly to justice.
“The reports from Jonglei State are appalling, indicating that scores of civilians have been killed in attacks across 28 villages between 16 and 17 May, with many more injured and thousands displaced,” said Bachelet.
“This recurring pattern of violence, which continues to claim lives in South Sudan, has to stop. I urge the Government to ensure measures are in place to investigate this violence and to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted, and that victims and their families have access to justice, truth and reparations,” she stressed.
While politically motivated fighting in South Sudan has declined, this year has seen an increase in intercommunal violence. During the first quarter of 2020, it was the main source of violence affecting civilians, resulting in 658 people killed, 452 injured, 592 abducted and 65 subjected to sexual violence.
Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) have suffered years of food insecurity and were severely hit by flooding in 2019. There have been several outbreaks of violence there in recent months, including a series of attacks from mid-February to early March that left 220 civilians dead and during which at least 266 women and children were abducted. Most of these victims have not been released from captivity.
The nature of the intercommunal conflicts, long driven by tensions over access to natural resources, particularly water and grazing land for cattle, has been evolving in recent years, taking on an increasingly militarized character with military-style tactics and military-grade weapons.
“As I have indicated previously, for the peace in South Sudan to be durable, the State authorities must act to end these cycles of retaliatory violence, including by holding those responsible to account and promoting peace-building between individual communities,” Bachelet said.
Ɛtämɛ kɔn Nuäri la kɔn mi näk naath agäc jɔk ɛmɛ näkɛ naath ɛpuc min banɛ tit ɛn jɔk ɛmɛ cɛ bën rɛ̈ɛ̈lɔ cɛ cät kɛ tin la tuok ni wän cɛ bën kɛ bën mi göl nɛydial tin tä rɛy ciëŋ dɔ̲ dë ŋäc ni ɤö cië duɔ̲r
kuäyɛ lɛ nöp inɛ görnɛ jɛ i banɛ lät nɛkɔn ɛn ɤö jɔk ɛmɛ ɛ puc näkɛ naath kɛ ɤö ɛn tämɛ jɔcɛ ŋuan ni nɛy ti jɛc rɛɛk ti wä cäŋ görɛ tit mi dit
cɛ luɔt ni ɤö löki ni randu ɛni ɤö mi ci randu bën kä thiëki kɛ rɛk mi luɔtɛ rɔ dë jɔl kɛ them mi taä kuak thëm thin
kɛ ɤö ci bi cuɔ yuorni rɔ puädɛ kɛ jiëk ëwal görɛ ɛ ɤö bia jëk ɛ nän kië bia kap ni tëëtkun Nhial kɛ malɛ
Nöpɛ ɛmɔ görɛ ɤö banɛ lät nɛkɔn dial ɛ ca bi thëw ciekɛ tädan in wänkä ŋäcnɛ jɛ kɔn nɛy tin jɔc tin canɛ tin wä wä ŋäc wichmuon ɛmäth kɛkɛn kɔn waŋ kä ji cieda
ci ruacdä thuok inɔnɔ
ɛ ɤën Jothɛp Nhial Kɔat Lual ɛnin käm yiɛ nöp ɛmɛ jin ram min täɤ rɛy ciɛŋ cuɔ bit ɛ bi ŋaŋ ni rɔdu kä rɔa görɛ i bi cië mɔari ŋaŋ kɛnɛ ji thiëk kä du Jueyɛ ɛmɛ cɛ bën wimuon kɛliw ɛ la bub ɛni kuoth kä rɔa bikɔn luäkɔ ɛ ni ɤö la kuoth a luäkɛ kɛ ŋäk
At the weekend, ethnic conflict broke out in Bieh State, leaving 242 people dead.
Local authorities said over 300 others were injured in what the presidential press secretary described as a revenge attack by youth from Pibor Administrative Area.
The fighting led to the displacement of Pieri residents and suspension of medical charity MSF operations there.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, UNMISS says a patrol of military and civilian peacekeepers serving with the UN mission has reached the affected communities in the area.
“The patrol heard first-hand from local community members and military commanders about the impact of the violence, including testimony from relatives of people who were killed, injured, and fled their homes,” the UN mission said.
In February, youth from greater Akobo reportedly attacked villages in Pibor, leaving over 10 people dead.
There has been a recurrence of retaliatory attacks in Jonglei in general, mostly fuelled by cattle raids and child abduction.