South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit over the weekend asked his Finance and Economic Planning Minister Athian Diing to cancel a Sovereign Guarantee transaction worth $650 million.
In a letter addressed to the Finance minister and seen by The EastAfrican, Kiir’s Executive Director James Deng told Mr Diing to cancel the grantee deal meant for Amok General Trading with immediate effect.
“I write to you on the directive of the President authorising you to cancel the Sovereign Grantee of $650 million and which has recently threatened to roll back gains we have made with our population and development partners,” the letter reads in part.
President Kiir’s office did not give a reason for cancelling the transaction. However, reports indicate that the development came after South Sudan’s Fifth Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng received some documents from an international financial institution during the UN General Assembly, after she appealed for additional funds to support her country’s projects aimed at aiding peace and bringing development.
In September last year, the US government imposed additional economic sanctions on a company owned or controlled by Sudanese businessman Ashraf Seed Ahmed Al-Cardinal, for his role in corruption connected to the South Sudanese government.
In October 2019, Kur Ajing Ater was also sanctioned alongside Al-Cardinal, after the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control Department (OFAC) accused him of robbing the war-torn country of its critical resources.
In April this year, the United Kingdom sanctioned Sudanese businessman and Al-Cardinal over corruption and involvement in businesses that fuel conflict in South Sudan.
A report by the United Nations Human Rights Commission released recently reveals that South Sudan authorities have embezzled $73 million from national coffers since 2018.
In the report, UN Human Rights Commission Chair Yasmin Sooka said that in the last two months, the leaders transacted funds amounting to $39 million.
Last year, South Sudan was ranked as the most corrupt country in the East African region.
A 2020 report by Transparency International ranked the country as the second most corrupt across the globe, followed by Somalia. Syria took the lead.
In October 2020, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights accused some South Sudanese politicians and senior government officials of embezzling at least $36 million since 2016.
In December the same year, The Sentry reported that some South Sudanese leaders laundered money and engaged in grand corruption through networks in the United Kingdom.
According to the 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index from the UN Development Programme in sub-Saharan Africa, the level of inequality in South Sudan is described as “massive”. The report estimates the inequality to be at 91.9 per cent in South Sudan.