JIPDD welcomes the conviction of 16 gov’t officials over corruption; cautions against blanket sentencing

Posted: June 18, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

From our Reporter in Bor, Jonglei state

16 officials sentenced to life in prison

Sixteen officials from the office of the president sentenced to life in prison

June 18, 2016 (SSB) — On June 13th, Judge Ladu Armenio of the South Sudan’s High Court sentenced 16 individuals from the Office of the President to life in prison for forging the signature of the president to steal more than $14 million and 30 million South Sudanese pounds, with the help of 14 officials from the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance.

As one of the leading civil society groups in South Sudan, the Jonglei Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (JIPDD) hereby welcomes the conviction of the 16 corrupt officials, but cautions against blanket sentencing. JIPDD stands in solidarity with the people of South Sudan in their fight against wanton corruption in the country.

Mr. Mach Samuel Peter, the Executive Director, said, “The people most affected by corruption are the poor, as corruption makes government programs not only inaccessible to them but also allows for non-implementation of government schemes and policies where they are most needed.” He added that all corrupt government official should face justice and call for the 75 former and current government officials to be identified and prosecuted.

Secretary for Finance, Ms. Agot Marial, added that the interim constitution of South Sudan forbids the taking of bribes, for a bribe makes people blind to what is right and ruins the cause of those who are innocent. She said the judiciary of South Sudan should desist from applying uniform sentences.

“Ring leaders should serve long term jail sentences while the rest are given lesser sentence, proportionate to the roles they played. There is no way that a convict like Anyieth Paul Chaat, a wife of John Agou, could be given the same jail sentence as John Agou, Mayen Wol and Yel Luol, the ringleaders,” Ms. Agot advised.

“Corruption can only be curbed and eliminated with the support of the people from the grassroots,” said Jongkuch Jo Jongkuch, Secretary for Information. “To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on shady deals, citizens must tell their governments that they have had enough, and need urgent redress of mismanagement and corruption in the government.”

However, Secretary for Information Jongkuch Jo Jongkuch doubts that if some of the officials that were sentenced to life in prison will spend all their terms in prison. He urges the government not to allow the convicts to leave the premises until their jail terms are served. “JIPDD welcomes the rights of the convicts to appeal their sentencing, but presidential pardon or medical leave should not be used as an excuse to get them out of prison illegally,” Jongkuch said.

Makwei Deng, the patron, emphasized the need to prevent corruption from taking root and identified the importance of empowering citizens to hold governments and security forces accountable so as to deter corrupt practices through oversight. He also called upon the government to institute a mechanism that would ensure the full and quick return of all stolen money from the 75 mafia and the 16 convicts.

Abel Majur Leek, Secretary General, warned the authorities to stop playing ostrich and politics with issues fundamental to the country’s progress. He said: “Corruption is pervasive and systemic in South Sudan. The president should therefore be careful in granting presidential pardons or extending medical leaves to convicted corrupt officials.” The culture of impunity responsible for the pervasive and systemic corruption and the associated violations of the basic economic and social rights of millions of South Sudanese people should not be allowed in South Sudan, Leek said.

“JIPDD remains committed to supporting and rallying behind South Sudanese to monitor the use of public resources and demand for action against corrupt government officials. Strong independent civil society organizations are essential in promoting transparency and preventing corruption,” Mach Samuel concluded.

JIPDD, a civil society in Jonglei state, is mainly involved in the dissemination of accurate, impartial, reliable and timely information about the peace process, civil society advocacy, and support to citizen engagement in the peace process, democracy and development to help promote local resilience, conflict reduction, and democratic transformation in Jonglei state in particular, and South Sudan in general.

It engages actively on social media, radio talk shows, panel discussions, public lectures, community town hall meetings, press releases and opinion articles via print and online media outlets to educate, inform, sensitive and empower communities in Jonglei state on the state of affairs in the country.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.

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