Sep 24, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has released a new report on corruption, financial embezzlement and power struggle for control of oil and other resources in South Sudan.
The new report accused senior government officials of having misappropriated a “staggering $36 million” since 2016 and that could just be the tip of an iceberge.
“It is worth noting this is just what we were able to trace and may not reflect the whole picture,” the commission’s chair, Yasmin Sooka, told the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday.
She noted “brazen embezzlement” in the illicit flows from South Sudan’s finance ministry and National Revenue Authority.
She added that these bodies have been aided by international bodies and multinational banks.
“Shockingly, these South Sudanese bodies have been aided and abetted in these crimes by a number of international corporations and multinational banks,” Sooka said, but not naming names. “Some of this money has been laundered through the purchase of properties abroad. Indeed, those properties may well be in your countries.”
According to Yasmin Sooka, corruption is the main driver of the prolonged conflict in the country, caused by the differences between the President Salvar Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar.
Senior politicians in the country continue to benefit as citizens continue to suffer especially now because of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Sooka adds that International Pressure and establishment of international hybrid courts could be the only way to end multiple abuses that are attached to corruption.
“Court are the only way to end the multiple abuses that attach to the corruption.” She said.
She called on the council, the African Union and the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to act.
Speaking in Geneva, the Chair of the U.N. Commission of Human Rights, said the South Sudanese leaders are fighting for control of country’s oil and mineral resourvces and in the process they are stealing their people’s future.
“At one end of the spectrum, South Sudan’s political elites are fighting for control of the country’s oil and mineral resources, in the process stealing their people’s future,” Sooka said.
Sooka also noted in her reports that women and girls are being raped by soldiers on both sides in lieu of salaries.
“At the other, the soldiers in this conflict over resources are offered the chance to abduct and rape women in lieu of salaries. The eight-year-old girl gang raped in front of her parents is the collateral damage.” Sooka said.
The UN Commissions and other watchdogs have warned that South Sudanese officials are siphoning off millions of dollars from the weak economy that has largely relied on the country’s oil production.
“To give a flavor of what’s going on – a recent report to parliament by South Sudan’s National Revenue Authority indicates that approximately $300 million U.S. dollars have been ‘lost’ in the last three months alone,” Sooka narrated.
She regrets that South Sudanese are suffering, and now the coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions are creating more pain.
The UN has warned that more than half of South Sudan’s population goes hungry on a daily basis.
While president Salva Kiir has just fired the officials leading the finance institutions i.e. the Minister of Finance and Planning, Director of the Nilepet and the Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authorities, many citizens do not believe that since reshuffling could effect change since it has happened many times before.
South Sudan’s economy is on a free fall with high prices and hyper inflation rocketing the local markets, a trend many senior officials do not have hopes to try to revert.