World Bank launches fresh probe into South Sudan grain scandal

Posted: March 10, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy
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Saturday, March 10  2012 

THE WORLD Bank has instituted fresh investigations into the South Sudan’s grain scandal in which several companies are claiming some $1.5 billion for supplies they made in 2009.

The companies — from Uganda and South Sudan — also claim that some consignments destined for Juba were destroyed en-route, and Juba committed to compensation for the losses.

The claims, however, became contested after it turned out the grains were never supplied, pointing the spotlight on the administration in Juba which is grappling with widespread claims of corruption within its ranks.

Uganda’s consul to Juba Busho Ndiyenka told The EastAfrican last week that the World Bank and the South Sudan government had launched fresh investigations into the scandal.

The supplies of grain were procured for the National Grain Reserves, intended to build a buffer between famine and citizens of the infant state that was just emerging out of war. The purchases were financed under a component of the World Bank’s $524 million multi-donor trust fund.

Sources in both the Uganda and South Sudan governments are piling blame on some South Sudanese companies that won the tender, and then allegedly induced some state governors to sign for consignments that they did not receive.

According to internal investigations by Juba, the Ministry of Finance also paid briefcase companies under unclear circumstances. This World Bank probe comes barely six months after the Government of South Sudan hinted at closing its two-year investigation that has failed to net the culprits.

South Sudan Information Minister and government spokesman Bernaba Marial declined to comment. “I don’t know of the investigation and therefore have no comment,” Dr Marial said.

Apparently, by the time the supplying companies made their claims in 2010, the GOSS had stopped the contracts because “there was nothing to show on the ground,” sources close to both governments said.

It was established, however, that the Ugandan suppliers, subcontracted by South Sudan contractors, were not paid.


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