South Sudan’s key financial institutions lack constitutional checks and balances
Nov 19, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Speaking during a constitution-making process workshop on Thursday, South Sudan’s Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Angelina Teny, pointed out numerous contradictions in South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution(2011) and how the document has encouraged malpractices such as corruption and embezzlement of funds in the world’s newest country.
South Sudan, a country which has been at the epicenter of war, corruption and struggling leadership for most of its lifespan, is expected to review and amend the constitution as part of the revitalized Agreement of the Resolutions of the Conflict in South Sudan(R-ARCISS).
Speaking at the workshop, which was witnessed by the UN agencies, African Union, IGAD and other international agencies, Teny pointed out a few examples on how the constitution has encouraged corruption that has left the central bank empty and the South Sudan government broke.
According to Angelina Teny the Transitional Constitution has facilitated corruption by allowing many loopholes that are being exploited by officials due to lack of checks and balances.
“Our Transitional Constitution has a lot of contradictions. In fact, it has facilitated a number of issues in our society, one of which is corruption,” Hon. Angelina Teny said.
One of the contradictions she pointed out is that of the Central bank whose governor has been made head of the board instead of head of the executive – making him/her the chairman of the board that should impose checks and balances on the executives.
“Let me give you an example on how it has facilitated corruption. Take the central bank. The central bank has a board, chair of the board, and the governor of the bank. The board is supposed to be a policy making body.” Teny explained.
“The governor is supposed to be head of the executive. Now the governor is made to be chair of the board. You can see the conflict of interest. The governor of the bank is in fact regulating himself.” She continued.
Mrs. Teny believes that the central bank governor should be more involved in policy making as the head of the executive, not as the chair.
Another example she pointed out was that of the minister of petroleum whom she said should also be making policies to govern the ministry.
“You can’t make the Minister of Petroleum to be chair of the commission. The commission is an oversight in policy making,” she said.
The Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs added that the transition constitution contradictions can be corrected by making right legislation.
“We can ensure this contradiction by making right legislation. When we put the term of referral, it will determine people who will go to the commission. This will determine what the role of the commission is,” she added.
Teny has held key ministerial positions in South Sudan and Sudan. She made history in February when she was appointed the first female Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, a position President Salva Kiir has been keeping close to his chest since independence.
In her new position, however, Teny is struggling to reform the ministry as her influence in the ministry and also in the army she speaks for is very minimal.
Her statement came at a time South Sudan has made numerous changes to bolster accountability in financial sectors in order for South Sudan to secure loans from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank but the changes are yet to be incorporated into the constitution.