|BY Atem Ayuen Biar, Post Graduated from Melbuni & VicUni.
He recently attained a master degree of International Relations from the University of Melbourne and a master degree of Project Management from Victoria University. He is about to complete a Master of Policing Intelligence and Counter Terrorism with Master of International Security (in progress) at Macquarie University.
Attention: Government of Republic of South Sudan
RE: Options for best practices dealing with the corruption in South Sudan
Dec 08, 2015(Nyamilepedia) —- Corruption is a major issue in various parts of the earth. It may be generated through bribery and misuse of public resources for private purposes and/or personal gain. In the case of South Sudan the critical aspects of corruption are: mismanagement of resources, nepotism, tribalism, and lack of transparency and non-existent measures of accountability.
South Sudan’s corruption has led to the country facing a myriad of problems in governance, starvation, challenges surrounding poverty and constant hostilities among tribes across the country. At the grassroots’ level South Sudan is struggling with structural obstacles such as a lack of basic infrastructure, the underdevelopment of markets and insecurities due to the corruption.
South Sudan’s Anti-Corruption Commission (SSAC) was designed to diminish the extent of corruption practices in the governing regions. This commission was appointed by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan in 2011 as a result of embezzlement at a high ranking government level over several departments. However, South Sudan’s Anti-corruption Commission lacked the capacity, resources and political will to augment effective changes. Therefore, no major changes have occurred.
Corruption basically means cheating or manipulating one’s influence or public resources one is put in charge of to benefit individually. In addition, corruption is practiced in various ways in South Sudan, particularly in ignoring or disobeying the rules and regulations governing an office or organization. Disrespect for such organizations compounds the problem. Moreover, failure to follow or display no respect for the law or the constitution, and cheating by staff/employees are also types of corruption that encourage raiding and even homicide. Also inflating the figures during a census is a corrupt practice of government senior officers. Manipulating prices in the market is also another problem – hoarding the goods in the market to sell them later at inflated prices. Officials abuse authority and power by bribing or threatening judges and others in the legal system. Justice is denied to many as a result of these corrupt practices.
Indeed, corruption occurs in all states of the country and is manifested in various forms, including financial and political corruption, patronage, nepotism, pervasive tribalism and misuse of power. Furthermore, petty and grand forms of theft are practiced in South Sudan by top seniors and business persons. Unfortunately, grand corruption is a serious problem in South Sudan as officials take advantage of inadequate budget monitoring to divert public funds. The Transparency International organization (TI) found that the police, education, judiciary, medical services, land services, tax revenue, customs and registry/permit departments are the most corrupt. Just about all the key players in a country’s administration! This ‘new’ nation is struggling to restrict internal violence, prevent abuse by its security forces and tackle corruption, alas, there is no significant change.
The issues of corruption impact on the following: illiteracy, diseases, poverty and ignorance, tribal conflicts, and human rights’ issues. For instance, corruption leads to public resources misuse in connection with money, goods, vehicles, building or land permits and aid diverted into individuals’ pockets instead of the publics’. The former also includes paying bribes to government officials in order to be given a government contract or license that leads to inappropriate companies ( as well as a surplus of companies) operating in the various areas.
The failure to follow the code of judicial conduct is another form of corruption and professional ethnics. For instance buying qualifications, which one has not acquired in any school or university, is corruption and a major source of crime. Furthermore, such corruption is common in South Sudan due to many top politicians and business persons needing immediate gratification at the expense of the general population. All forms of corruption are caused by such factors as: lack of transparency, lack of accountability, absence of democracy and failure to be self-restrained in using public resources for personal benefits.
Solutions or best practice/Options for consideration:
- Promote transparency and accountability in ministry departments, military forces, police forces, business sectors, education departments, as well as judiciary, medical services and states’ administrations. Democratic processes where the people are informed and knowledgeable also assist the above processes.
- Create awareness in both government & public to be intolerant of corrupt practices.
- Remove executives from senior practices who are criminally negligent and have those charged under the law,
- Reform existing laws and generate new (more ethical and workable) laws.
- Give special powers to law enforcement agencies to investigate corrupt practices involve local communities in generating reform.
- Allow easy access for local communities to report discrepancies.
- Encourage senior state bureaucrats to be more accountable and regularly report to ethical authorities thus reducing bribery and its appeal. Heavy penalties enacted for bribery and other such corrupt practices.
- Ban financial gain for officials such as ‘jobs for the boys’ – especially to those who have a noted reputation or record in terms of corruption.
- Create or provide employment opportunities for all people in South Sudan to reduce greediness surrounding exploitation of public resources.
- Improve management practices and processes and encourage good governance across the regions.
- Refine infrastructures so that incentives or opportunities to be corrupt are removed/reduced,
- Generate taxation reform and salary increases for employees.
- Require investors to build in the countryside – creating more schools, clinics, hospitals as well as boosting the South Sudan’s economy.
- Provide and maintain regular monitoring of any corruption circumstances.
- Strengthen the capacity of vital accountability institutions, including the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the National Audit Chamber and the National Legislative Assembly.
- Form an alliance with the West’s specialist agencies to support the government to strengthen its capacity to tackle corruption and fraud, with an emphasis on improving financial management, increasing the transparency of the system and promoting better communications with the public.
- Empower citizens to monitor delivery of the services received, including a specific focus on young people and women – to help to establish ways for people to give feedback on mismanagement and corruption in service delivery programmes.
- Such combating of corruption can only be won through, binding laws, awareness, plus orienting and training people ethically so that feelings of altruism and service to the community are strengthened.
- Construct laws that punish each wrongdoer, not only those who have low ranks but particularly those in high places.
- The South Sudanese Government could introduce workshops or seminars to train seniors, young people and public officers to prevent corruption and sustain monitoring and evaluating of the system to determine whether the methods employed are achieving the goals of eliminating corruption.
- Provision of dedicated technical assistance to strengthen the corruption investigation cases, management capacity of the South Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission and to develop healthy legislative framework for sanctioning anti- corruption.
Overall, transparency, accountability, reform of laws, removal of corrupt officials and generating a population that is both well informed and committed to community will largely redress the above mentioned problems. However, this will not happen in the short term but will require time to install much needed changes.
Maor, M 2004, Feeling the Heat?, Anti-Corruption Mechanism in Comparative Perspective’ governance, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 1-28.
Nichols, P 2000, ‘The Myth of Anti-Bribery Laws as Transnational Intrusion’, Cornell International Law Journal, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 627-655.
Pope, J 1999, ‘Enhancing Accountability and Ethics in the Public Sector’, Curbing Corruption: Toward a Model for Building National Integrity, Washington DC, pp. 105- 116.
Sousa, L 2010, ‘Anti-Corruption Agencies: Between empowerment and Irrelevance’, Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 53, No. 1, pp. 5-22.
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