Reflections on the Mythological Aspects of the Sentry Corruption Report

Posted: June 15, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Madit Them Arop, Juba, South Sudan

garang-on-corruption

Introduction:

June 15, 2017 (SSB) — Since the publication of the Sentry report in 2016 and 2017, South Sudanese opinions have remained divided over the issue of corruption made public in war torn nation. Majority believed that the report has tainted the image of nation; others questioned justification deployed to collect the information. Still more put less emphasis on the question of evidences, viability, credibility and strategies used on this defamatory case, and rather focused on the peaceful picture over the economic hardships.

However, this paper will explore four main elements: one, how the report perceived on political platform. Two, on legal perspective, how justifiable is the report. Three, how to deal with defamation and fabrication based on the report. Fourth, did the report deliver? Has it served the chosen purpose? What should the report have included to make it changeable/deliverable? And, where, at this time can we find peace? Did the report try to cement the bled nation, do less intent harm while perplexed irrelevant activities or it did the opposite?

To address some of these concerns, the role of the Sentry in South Sudan Affairs must have a firm glance.

Role of the Sentry in South Sudan Affairs

The Sentry is organization based in Washington DC in the United States, objectively served as money and fund keen follower in areas known for atrocious activities. It is an enterprise of Enough Project and Not on Our Watch (NOOW) with supporting collaborator known as C4DAS. The Enough Project focused mainly on peace and justice in the world and on Africa in particular. South Sudan is one of the countries labeled with atrocious activities witnessed in variety against humanity. This thin thread has extended the Sentry arm of service to the country.

Nevertheless, chances served by the Sentry corruption report on fragile state have black and white outcomes. Drawing views into this, critics measured the Sentry’s work with mythology, a situation expert responsible should have cared to safeguard. Along with such mythological aspects, the report has mixed reactions more specifically on credibility on the subject and substances applied. The report claimed that bad embezzlement had occurred, leaders used wartimes to stabilize themselves, and without a minimal doubt, they have corrupted. Examining both solid terms, political criticality is essential.

How did the report perceive politically?

Taking it on political basis the report damaged the nation. That is the straightforward conclusion. Despite the fact that the government has seen the report conveyed vicious propaganda spear meant to dismantle the credibility of the government and its system.

Rousingly, critics concur with the report, a wakeup call on leaders waged the war to enrich themselves with resources believed to be for the nation and its citizens. The report revealed that the citizens are suffering; nation is bleeding while leaders are enjoying the little wealth.

 The further resultant aspect is the report has isolated trust in the system, accountability-transparency is levelheadedly in coma, political trench created, gap between citizens and their leaders sown, and report has colored leadership differently. Still, the report has reminded the world about “failed state” scenario on the new wedded nation.

In this case, the Sentry dusted the darkened side of the unknown world for other worlds to see and have a piece of information. Other opinions have generally seen the Sentry wanted to stand tall and gain particularity in world affairs.

Sounds alarm of interest

Conversely, effort made in the report suggests one side leaving the other to suffer. Both phases 2016 and 2017 have failed to interview all accused or some of the accused on subject to help justify evidences placed against the victims. Meanwhile, the mindful analysts sensed lack of connected dots in the report.

Reality check is not democracy! The genesis of corruption starts with the jurisdiction, the mother country where the concern is raise for the first time for a start.  This point is conjecturing when the Sentry experts repeatedly published this case with no clear connections.  Accusing individual of corruption is one thing, proving wealth acquired through corrupt means against the culprit is another.

The Sentry reports cut deep into the nation with sound alarm of interest leaving the world of critics hanging with their tongues out over the issue trying to reconcile evidences exposed. The serious concern is that seeing the intended person standing-by, say at a leisure place and managed to take picture with property nearby may not convince majority that such property belongs to the person or acquired through corrupt means. That is the picture report painted on the face of the world.

Evidences shown in dozen pages; however, were pictures of people labeled as “rich” with citizens’ wealth, their titles, and executed activities. Arguably, dealing with commercial companies, being a member on board of companies, and getting certain percentage or commission does not justify corruption. The most respectful institution, like the Sentry should have clearly incorporated percentages/commissions found earned unfairly in the report. Such an enormous work with false evidences meant to either mislead the world or create dilemmas or do both to achieve bold interest have remained a struggle to digest. With surety on this basis, political loopholes in the report with its eventual doubts are options unavoidable. Therefore, the nation’s voices are convinced that the report passed message of fortitude with less benefit to the nation. From this perspective, the report failed to do just work with consent to reconcile the bled nation.

How justifiable is the report?

There is corruption in the country but references used were misplaced. Corrupt system has corrupt people. General Malek is from the system, possibilities to catch the disease is unquestionable, but singling him as the much vilest does not validate that others unmentioned or un-followed are far less in the game. The Sentry also evidenced that Gen. involved in purchasing ammunitions, signed deals with foreign (Chinese/Russian) companies, member on board of companies, used his Mak International to get contracts, however, in every executed activity, he had commissions or percentages.

Justification, on the one hand, stated that no reported case against the General that he had earned commission or percentage alleged in the report inappropriately.  No reported case as well that the General was assigned to or sent for a mission and had failed to purchase soldiers’ facilities or signed contract or accused of diversion; had this happened, he would have been held accountable for misused funds under leadership of the General Headquarters of South Sudan Army (the SPLA).

Therefore, the claims on shared percentages and commissions is lagging, report cannot prove that earning occurred unfairly. In addition, the report stopped short to reveal how problematic were commissions or percentages deeply concerned the institution. It nakedly mentioned for the sake of reporting without citing activities executed and out of this, he had used to establish himself with evidences, and as a result, this had put him in trouble with his leadership.

Consequently, evidences provided prove nothing tangible enough on the case. Assets’ pictures have myths and unconnected. Critics wanted to understand the direction of this case are so stunned; the sentry as an organization with its respected team might have ruined it this time.

Corruption occurs worldwide has one simple step: jurisdiction accusation. Severally yet once back 75 officials accused of 4 billion dollars inaptly snatched in the country and government demanded for reimbursement is never seen in this report. Other major corruption cases like Dura Saga (Sorghum), Crisis/Disaster Management Committee, Austerity Measures, 16 officers accused in the office of the President, former Minister of Finance’s case to mention but just a few had no proper trace.

How did the world body conduct references is another myth. It is so simple to take pictures of property believed acquired illegally but showing just pictures with individuals in question failing to show genesis of the case attracted attention to investigate is ascetical.

Other views stressed balancing of interest. The president and generals stained corrupt in government’s camp placed eyebrows’ high-pitched, enveloping the report unhealthy. Looking back again at the 75 officials listed for instant, inclusiveness seen in checked back then. Political Detainees, IO members and in government covered, equally identified, stood labeled of fraudulent.

Reading through the report without mentioning anything about the past immoral cases in the very government has lowered ethics of good reporting on the Sentry. The Sentry report managed to bless one side and blemished the other. How did the body do it is hanging as fairytale.

To this point, the public understood that the Sentry had claimed and lacked independent ground! Taking the President of the country with his Luri Ranch, his in-law Gen. Gregory Vasill, their children and other members involved to own companies, assets and money. It is very difficult for the Sentry to push its case further in this view.

The President has legal right to acquire a land, a ranch like any other citizen in the country. The president is both the guardian and enforcer of policy and law and order. It is the rightful person this concerned group should have centralized in inconsistence areas, held accountable and use him as a guide in the process, if the report meant to bring out convincing outcomes. This now envisaged not the case.

The population endured divided fearing that the report tried to wipeout the sitting government indirectly, while others reasoned that it is an intent to remind the government of danger comes with its political actions or disagreements over power struggle.

However, to use the words for Howard Dean, former governor of state of Vermont in the US and former Presidential Candidate, said, “When a house is on fire, it’s not the best time to safe the furniture.”

 Already South Sudan is on fire, putting this fire out with fire is impractical. The Sentry experts did their best with intend to sound an alarm of concern, perhaps, the result of their making is seen provocative, troublesome, generated storm of confusion among the vulnerable population. Majority sensed that the body has unfairly run investigation as allegedly argued. Their argument, for instance, is collecting data is one thing and having quality data is another. The data used as evidences, according to these voices, is quantitative. This put the report on less deliverable position.

Furthermore, it is never clear why the Sentry stamped with doubt on every asset every single leader has as “earned in corrupt ways!”

Correspondingly and on identification made, the report failed in both phases to attached cases filed against any of the accused leaders; the report also lacks strong evidences to prove that these leaders have used political power or military power to acquire the reported assets, and therefore, courts were intimidated to exercise powers bestowed upon its system.

Draped as it is, the report sustained with an idea that their experts flown over to verify accumulated million dollars in foreign banks, houses in foreign countries believed obtained in “bad faith.” How justifiable is this? How will such accumulation be held against anyone when it lacks basis on how it was acquired? These questions are so rhetorical and associated with less baked work!

Defamation and Fabrication

Defamation had occurred, printing was done, names of individuals identified, evidently intended to destroy the image of particulars have taken place. The report also have encountered mismanagement of public resources from top offices but ended catching the issue by the horn.

Different concerned voices argued that the Sentry has malleably reported anything fit in its interest of investigation since South Sudan is weak nation with weak system.

Therefore, critics thought the nation is used as dumping site for both made-up and well-polished trash work. Hence and in this case, the Sentry institution shouldered the responsibility. Thus, defamation-fabrication is firm and readily accounted for the Sentry institution.

Did the report deliver?

Corruption is about accusation and investigation. Only one pillar is addressed, actors were accused, and by law, investigation should have taken the course. The report leaped to condemnation of the accused leaving giant investigation gap hanging in between.

Accused should have been interviewed to concretely affirm the dust thrown up at them, to face tough questions, prove themselves against all odds, failure as it happened and as publicly argued, placed the report on low grading and sincerely qualifies for biasness!

Independent voices stressed that report conducted in two years without a single accused person visited and interviewed fallen into ditch of mistakes negligently or unintentionally unfixed; this discredited the organization in the eyes of many.

Additionally, the report lacks the big picture, miscarried to incorporate real substances. Publicly, majority of South Sudanese felt the report had added fierce harm into the country’s affairs, a time when unity, peace and harmony, peaceful coexistences are on every single person’s lip, and needed the most.

Others doubt independency in the report. It’s said that the Sentry is a hired organization available to implement its core job in South Sudan. When investigated further critics added that, the Sentry lack of independent tone, its tone affiliated with political elements, oppositions and others placed doubts high in the report. Such head scratching myths rocked the boat of solid work on the face of the institution. The report professed expected measures and fallen into less deliverable enclosure.

What should the report have done differently?

Expectations not always hit the target. However, mandate is sustained. The report should have cared for salvaging of the nation, speak with unison tone, push for silencing the guns, support denunciation of the violence and flag up the national dialogue agenda to help transit out of dialogue to national reconciliation. To minimize political defensiveness, side taking harm and resistance upscale as a result to reactive response to the report.

Collaboratively, nation voices also argued that it is time when South Sudanese embrace only peace!   Majority felt that identification minus international accusations should have led the stage while allowing home based system to deal with findings, reporting internationally as the Sentry did, sends wrong messages with wrong interpretations within and beyond.

 Conclusion:

The report tried to raise corruption concerns traced in war torn nation. The government officials identified involved in malpractices using political powers and other means. The report sent message of shame as plentiful voices expressed. It defamed, fabricated, colored the nation differently, and in real sense, different viewers and mixed of analysts expressed huge propaganda in the report. Investigations the Sentry conducted unfit on ethics of reporting. Having flown over secretly to “spy” on “most targeted” without hearing from them face-to-face, question them on the subject put less emphasis on the credibility of the work. On the Sentry’s camp, evidences preached as facts sustained the course; interpretation occurred after publishing incoherently hold. Though the report damaged the credibility of the nation and its system, it did not deliver.

Critics affirmed that there is lack of balancing in the report, the report lacks credibility, fair justice is missing, and it is quantitative, biased, preached tone of harm, promoted self-concerned assertion. Therefore, it is so difficult to bless it with ethics of reporting principle.  Vast work with vast mythological aspects, so discreditable!

Author is reachable at aropmadit@gmail.com

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 from.

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