Contributor's Letters Opinion

Response to allegations of corruption in the Ministry of Finance and Planning

The Hard Talks in The Black Box

By Mathiang Jalap

Oct 22, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — A certain man called Deng Peter Kuol has made wild allegations over his whatsapp account against the new Minister of Finance, Hon. Athian Diing Athian, claiming that within a span of 3 weeks, the Minister has squandered an amount to the tune of $750,000 which he used to buy 3 Landcruisers V6 and a Toyota Hilux Pickup for his two wives.

President Salva Kiir presiding over the swearing in ceremony of the newly appointed finance minister and planning among other officials(Photo credit: OoP/Nyamilepedia)
President Salva Kiir presiding over the swearing in ceremony of the newly appointed finance minister and planning among other officials(Photo credit: OoP/Nyamilepedia)

This is absolutely unfounded allegations and misleading information Mr. Deng Peter has made to blackmail and intimidate the Minister. There was nothing of that sort. 

The fact is that the Ministry of Finance and the Minister himself are not mandated to buy cars for wives from public funds.

 It is not a government policy to provide family cars to officials or ministers. It is not also the prerogative of the Minister to use public money for meeting private wants.

Since assuming office, the Minister has not signed a cheque authorizing payment for buying cars or payment for claims of individuals or companies contracted by the Ministry. What the Minister has done so far upon taking office is that:

  1. Approved payment for the security sector
  2. Approved payment for the flood affected areas
  3. Approved payment for the operational cost of the presidency
  4. Approved payment for salaries.

It is worth noting that the 2020/2021 budget has not been passed by the parliament. Where will the minister get the authority to release $750,000 for his wives cars from? Mr. Deng should tell the public the source of that alleged money squandered by the Minister.

As an official working in the national Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, any newly appointed Minister is entitled to an official car and the fact is that upon assuming office, the Ministry gave Hon. Athian Diing Athian an official car to carry out his ministerial duties not for his wives. If the author saw one of the wives of the minister driving that car, it is not a corruption as alleged by Mr. Deng Peter Kuol.

Kuol further claimed that the bulletproof vehicle was handed over to the Minister by former deputy Minister of Finance, Hon. Mou Ambrose Riiny Thiik. This is another defamatory and rubbish claim that Mr. Deng Peter must attest to in a court.   The Minister has already asked his lawyers to file a lawsuit for Deng to prove without reasonable doubt that the allegation he has made true to his conviction.

Otherwise he should be ready to pay for the damages he has caused on the reputation of the honorable Minister. 

On allegation that the Minister is trying to bring back the former First Undersecretary of Finance & Planning Hon. Biel Jok Thiec is misleading information. The public knows that the Minister of Finance has no appointing power for most senior officials in the ministry. The only person constitutionally empowered to appoint an undersecretary is the President of the Republic, His Excellency, Salva Kiir Mayardit.

In his article, Deng Peter Kuol also alleged that the Minister connived with the Commander of the Presidential Guards, Gen. Lual Maroldit arbitrarily dismissing Protocol officer Ms. Akuindiek Abiem who Deng alleged that she has refused to marry Gen. Lual.

 Gen. Lual is a married man with a family; he is a respected senior officer who is concerned with the security of the presidency not petty issues. He has nothing to do with the administrative matters related to managing the office of the Minister.

The allegation that the Minister fired his private secretary, protocol officer and appointed a new executive director is not a form of corruption as alleged by Deng Peter. The Minister can choose his support staff based on qualifications, behavioral conduct, and discipline. This is neither maladministration nor cruelty against any staff. 

The Minister has the power to select a team capable of delivering targeted aims and goals of the Ministry. If he found any staff to be disrespectful and misbehaving he has the right to suspend or dismiss the official or relocate that person. 

Hon. The Minister of Finance is not a nepotistic person who favors friends and relatives. If he is, the SPLM leadership would have not approved his appointment for  ministerial portfolio. Hon. Athian has served as deputy  Minister for two years before where he gained the trust of the party leadership recommending him to the president for appointment. He is a clean and honest party member. 

The author can be reached through email at michaelkoma@gmail.com

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