Prosecute corrupt officials, UN tells South Sudan President Kiir

Posted: September 29, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Julius N. Uma

September 28, 2011 (JUBA) – The UN’s special representative to South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson, on Wednesday urged the new country’s president Salva Kiir to ensure that those implicated in corruption are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.

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Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), speaks to journalists. 28 September 2011 (Photo UN)

“It is unacceptable when money devoted to developing the new and independent South Sudan ends up in private pockets and foreign bank accounts. [But] with the actions the president is now taking, he is ending impunity for the individuals involved,” Johnson, who just returned from the UN General Assembly meeting, said.

Such anti-corruption moves, she told journalists, are the preconditions for South Sudan to succeed in building a new, strong and stable nation. Johnson also urged South Sudanese to put the country above any individual interests.

In his message delivered by the vice-president last week, president Kiir reiterated new government’s policy of a zero tolerance for corruption, saying his new administration will focus on good governance, democracy, accountability and transparency.

South Sudan seceded in July as part of a 2005 peace deal which ended a conflict that had raged – with a 11 year break (1972-1983) – since 1955, a year Sudan’s independence.

Despite being one of South Sudan’s most critical problems since it gained self-rule in 2005 no official has ever been prosecuted for corruption, despite a commission being appointed to investigate graft.

Johnson called upon the international community to assist the Republic of South Sudan in implementing its development plans. She specifically appealed for countries like Switzerland, the UK, the US and Australia to help South Sudan recover and repatriate funds that had been diverted by corrupt officials.

“The engagement by the Legislative Assembly and civil society, requesting additional actions against corruption, is positive. To win the fight against corruption, all parts of society need to engage,” she emphasised.

The UN Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) also lauded President Kiir’s historic first address to the General Assembly on behalf of Africa’s newest nation, describing it as the “right message at the right time”.

“The president has clearly shown commitment to peaceful relations with neighbouring north [Sudan] aimed at establishing a solid foundation for the new nation, based on political pluralism, good governance, transparency and accountability,” Johnson said.

The head of the UN in South Sudan further appealed to the southern leadership to ensure that both the Political Parties Act and the Electoral Act, which are due to be discussed in parliament, are subjected to extensive consultations with all political parties in the country.

“This commitment also needs to be reflected in protecting political space, and respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms of all political actors in the country,” the SRSG added.

The country’s leaders, she reiterated, should also review and regulate policies governing land sales, describing it as a fundamental approach towards reducing inter-communal tensions.


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