RUMBEK – Speaking to the rally in Rumbek, the Country Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny said, “Billions of dollars missing from national coffers may not be missing after all.”
Dr. Machar told the crowd at Rumbek’s Freedom Square, “four billion is too much money to be taken by 75 officials.”
His argument was the government of South Sudan received $11.5 billions US dollars from the government of Khartoum in oil revenues.
“Over the past seven years, the government only ever received around US$11.5 billion from Khartoum in oil revenues. So where is this US$4 billion supposed to be coming from?” Dr. Machar asks the rally.
“Basically this is false information, intended to defame the SPLM, which some people have described as corrupt,” Dr. Machar added.
Dr. Riek Machar claiming that, it is a political motivations against the current government of South Sudan and SPLM official and he said, “this allegation may not be true all.”
One of the local resident who attend the rally and ask not to be identify for security reason told The Niles, “why did the President publicize the names of the corrupt people if none of this was true?”
The missing of $4 billion caused uproar among South Sudanese as well as international community.
The Civil Society leader Deng Athuai campaign tiredly to uncover the names of 75 former and current officials accused by President Salva Kiir of stealing $4 billion from the grossly impoverished nation and that campaign led Deng Athui to be abducted from the Nile Beach Hotel in Juba on the night of July 4 by five plain-clothed men and driven to an unknown location.
Mr. Athuai was severely beaten, deprived of food and repeatedly interrogated about the mandate of the Alliance and its vocal stance against corruption in the country.
When the scandal was revealed in June, President Salva Kiir sent a letter to officials asking that the funds be returned:
In the letter President Salva Kiir wrote, "Many people in South Sudan are suffering and yet some government officials simply care about themselves.”
"We fought for freedom, justice and equality. Many of our friends died to achieve these objectives. Yet once we got to power, we forgot what we fought for and began to enrich ourselves at the expense of our people."
The letter was sent to approximately 75 officials -- the same ones whose names Athuai demanded should be made public.
However, in the letter, Kiir had promised amnesty and confidentiality to those who returned the funds.
"We have fought for our right to be counted among the community of the free nations and we have earned it," President Kiir told the gathered crowds. "To the extent that we still depend on others, our liberty today is incomplete. We must be more than liberated, we have to be independent economically."
On the other hand, the Vice President himself said in early June, “the situation on the billions of dollars lost to corruption occurred partly as a result of the combination of weak institutions coupled with incompetent accounting system.”
The Vice President urged the international community to help build the new nation to instill effective systems of accountability and transparency.
Beginning of July, the president ‘s office and South Sudan cabinets has ordered the minister of Justice, John Luk Jok, to prosecute the culprits involving in the loss of billions of dollars.
According to U.S official, “the State Department said, it is not considering travel bans on South Sudanese officials despite revelations that the former rebel party (SPLM) that the United States backed in its independence bid has stolen billions of dollars from oil revenues meant to rebuild the country.”
Travel bans are one of the few tools available to American officials to fight corruption, and U.S. law requires that they be imposed if the State Department has credible evidence that foreign officials are profiting corruptly from a country's natural resources.
The law allows for exemptions only for travel to the United Nations in New York, though an individual ban can be lifted if the reason for the banning has been corrected.
Princeton Lyman, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, indicated this week that the State Department isn't investigating to determine which officials absconded with the money.
"You have to know exactly who you are going to target. It's not exactly clear who did it," Lyman said.
Under American law, foreign officials and their immediate family members who steal from the public treasury or display other significant corruption are ineligible to enter the United States. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman of the state and foreign operations subcommittee and the author of the "anti-kleptocracy" law, said he didn't think the State Department was doing enough to find out who stole the money.
The Upper Nile Times